We finally hear from the NCBA/Meat Packers on the change to a voluntary ID from the USDA.
Cattle Editorial: USDA Puts Animal ID On Voluntary Track
For several years, NCBA members have consistently held that a national animal identification system is necessary, but can be better accomplished on a voluntary, market-driven, and producer-led basis. While a government-mandated and government-controlled system may seem like an easier and quicker solution, NCBA has never viewed this as the answer. We’ve always maintained that the industry could provide a more secure, confidential, and efficient solution that would be met with much less resistance and mistrust than a government mandate.
You know, Mike John really thinks a lot of himself. He takes all the credit for the NCBA for the USDA
deciding to make NAIS
As always, NCBA took a pragmatic stance on this issue – aimed not at gaining headlines or publicity, but simply at achieving positive results for cattlemen. That’s the approach that leads to long term success on major policy issues, and positive, productive solutions for the cattle industry.
Excuse me, I remember when the NCBA was all for mandatory NAIS
and was a partner with the USDA
in pushing it. Then there was enough of an outcry they backed off to a producer led system which still didn't satisfy the critics until they added voluntary to their program. They no more deserve credit for the change than pigs can fly. The producers that complained and made the NCBA change its policy deserve all the credit.
Now that the program is voluntary, what does Mike John say we should do?
At this time, one of the most critical areas in which the livestock industry needs to show improvement is premises registration. USDA Under Secretary Bruce Knight recently reported that 23 percent of premises nationwide are now registered, and the agency hopes to push that figure to 25 percent by 2007. While this represents modest progress, those figures tell me that premises registration needs a significant shot in the arm. USDA has updated its National Animal Identification System User Guide and premises registration materials, which are now available to cattlemen on line at: http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais. Along with its renewed emphasis on voluntary animal ID, these user-friendly tools should help USDA reach out to mainstream livestock producers. There will always be those who dig in their heels on the ID issue, but others simply need thorough, easy-to-access information to help them get started.
The cattle industry can certainly assist in this effort by better explaining the potential benefits of premises registration, as well as further steps that can be taken to register livestock movements and animal tracking data. These tools can help producers – both large and small – take advantage of value-added opportunities and improve their bottom line. But that process really begins with premises registration as a basic fundamental step. This isn’t confidential or sensitive data you’re providing. It’s really just contact and location information that can often be found in a phone book or other local directories.
So now that it's voluntary we should all march down to the USDA
and sign up for the first step in giving up our rights, premise registration. If the information can be "found in a phone book or other local directories" as Mike John says, why do we need to go sign our premise up. The USDA
has the information all ready and needs no help from us. The only thing they want from us is to voluntarily enslave ourselves to their system instead of standing up for our God given rights to reject their demands.
Mike Johns thinks is the first step to the profit opportunities that an ID program can bring. Show me the dollars. I had a long talk with the guy who buys my calves and feeds them and he was adamant that he did not want the critters to have an ID tag in them. The packers he sell to charge from $25-45 per head to scan the tag which kills his profit margin. If the packer or feeder won't pay for an animal with an ID tag, where is the profit opportunity for me. More money out of my pocket with no more coming in is a loss for me last time I checked So Mike John really needs a reality check.
THERE IS NO PROFIT OPPURTUNITY INVOLVED WITH ANIMAL ID, at this point. Yes, I admit that there might be profit some day but lets not put the cart before the horse. The profit might not be there for all of us. I remember quite a number of years ago the industry started a trend for producers like me to pre-condition calves before we sold them. We were told that this would bring us more money for our calves and that it was the way to go. I have resisted this movement to this day.
The reason why? I can profit fine without it. I sell my calves for the same price pre-conditioned calves of the same weight in my area sell for and I don't have the expense of pre-conditioning. Quality cattle don't need crutches like pre-conditioning or NAIS
for a producer to make a profit. We can do it ourselves just fine. If I start losing money because I don't ID my calves then I can make the voluntary decision to register my place and ID my cattle. I don't need Mike John to tell me now is the time to register my place to show the USDA
my good intentions.
Is this payoff to the USDA
for making the program voluntary? You bet and Mike is trying to sell it to us.
An ear tag never stopped a disease, Mike John justs wants us to think it can.