In 2004 we first posted about the National Cattle ID Plan and recently there's been a lot of interest on the internet and concerns expressed about how this program is being implemented as people become more aware of the program. A Montana rancher's blog, Thoughts from the Middle of Nowhere, has an excerpt from an article today about Herd Identification that expresses some of the concerns with the program for small producers and even grandma with her backyard chicken flock. This has also been a topic this week on the Derry Brownfield show particularly the January 5th show where some interesting points were raised on the method and wording from the individual state regulations that are being enacted. Programs that begin as "voluntary" for the registration of premises such as proposed in Texas, once in full effect become mandatory with fines of $1,000 a day for non compliance. Fees are also being imposed for premise registration which will need to be paid every two years. If the costs of the program increases I think it's reasonable to suspect that the fees will also increase. What tracking back will mean with regards to liability issues to the small producer is another area of concern. Since national identification has been pushed by Big Ag with global interests some feel this may be the beginning of the end of non corporate farming. A website StopAnimalID.org has been put up to act as a clearinghouse for information and provides state and governmental links.
Stage one is the registering of premises, stage two will be individual animal identification or by lots for larger producers. Stage three will be the actual tracking. Since the USDA is doing this on a state by state basis it's important to be aware of what's enacted in your state. Intent and purpose shouldn't be vulnerable to change and different interpretations later on if written correctly. The burden of cost and effects on the small producer and homesteaders that grow their own food are legitimate issues.