City, Mo. – More
than 80 percent of participants at the National Institute for Animal Agriculture
(NIAA) annual conference regarding animal identification suggested the U.S. Department
of Agriculture's (USDA) National Animal Identification System (NAIS) implementation
is behind expectations. Further, 78 percent of the more than 100 respondents
said NAIS should be a mandatory program.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, who gave the key note address at
the meeting, stressed the program will remain voluntary under his watch. He
believes the market place will drive the implementation of NAIS through premium
opportunities for producers.
Respondents named cost and confidentiality as two of the greatest hurdles to
implementing NAIS; however, many noted progress is definitely being seen on
those fronts. Secretary Johanns also noted these as two of the biggest areas
USDA is focused on.
According to Secretary Johanns, he believes both of these issues are being addressed
by allowing private data management companies to serve as suppliers for the
“Enhanced computer-based technology and the development of, and reduction in
cost of radio frequency identification devices, have helped drive the program
from a technology standpoint,” said Scott Stuart, chairman of the board for NIAA. “Competition
in the market will encourage continual technology improvement and help to drive
costs lower for our producers.”
Participants agreed that using an easy, single-source tracking solution would
be the best option to help improve implementation of NAIS. They also suggested
that recent technology improvements, including naming the first interim Animal
Tracking Database provider, is the greatest success of the program to date.
“Using private database systems will help protect the confidentiality and privacy
of producers personal information,” said Jim Heinle, president of Global Animal
Management, Inc. “As the first approved interim animal tracking database provider,
we take the safety and security of producers information as our absolute #1 priority,
followed closely by ease of use, ease of access and cost effectiveness.”
Using veterinarians to serve as facilitators to encourage producer sign-up was
the second most suggested option to improve NAIS implementation.
More than 20 percent of the academia, federal and state officials, animal health
and industry experts present responded to the survey, which was administered
by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture and Tri-Merit™, provided by
Schering-Plough Animal Health and powered by Global Animal Management, Inc.
Tri-Merit is a single-source solution animal tracking and database management
program that allows producers to be NAIS compliant and capture value-added
market opportunities. Complete survey results available upon request.