A coalition of livestock and related groups is urging the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to reject the USDA animal identification rule. They have met with OMB officials and have written a letter outlining their concerns.
R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard tells Brownfield their main concern is that the USDA grossly underestimated the cost that this animal ID system will have on independent cattle producers.
Bullard says, “USDA claims the cost will be low. We’ve submitted studies that show the cost is likely to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Bullard says this rule brings producers to the doorway of the USDA’s former National Animal Identification System, or NAIS, which was tamped down by the outcry in rural America, “So they tried to scale it back,” says Bullard, “And they are now going forward with the initial steps of a full blown mandatory government program that is imposing the obligation on every independent producer to identify every head of animal that they have on their farms or ranches.”
He says says the system is driven by the corporate ag lobby and export market potential at the cost of putting smaller producers out of business. Bullard says they believe the USDA’s current traceability requirements in existing animal disease control programs are sufficient.
The comment period on the rule ended last December. The White House budget review that is going on now is the final step before it would be enacted.