Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Farm and Consumer Groups Protest Animal ID Efforts

Organizations representing family farmers, ranchers, and consumers from across the country are fighting to protect drought-stricken livestock producers from what they call a new costly regulatory program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Disease Traceability system, originally known as the National Animal Identification System, remains a contentious issue between the government and producers. Those who oppose it say the costs will be passed down to consumers, contributing to even higher food costs. In a letter to the Congressional Office of Management and Budget, 63 organizations have written to urge that the new and costly program be halted in part due to the nation-wide drought and the resulting crisis faced by so many farmers and ranchers. "This is the worst widespread drought since the 1930's Dustbowl," noted Gilles Stockton, a Montana rancher and member of the Western Organization of Resource Councils. "As our ranchers struggle to keep the herds alive through this disaster, they cannot afford to take on new regulatory burdens." The letter to the OMB notes that the USDA's fiscal analysis significantly underestimated the cost impacts of its rule to both cattle and poultry producers. The organizations contend, "while the agency claims that the costs are under $100 million annually, independent studies indicate that the costs could be three to five times that high for cattle producers alone."...more

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