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Keep updated on the USDA NAIS listening sessions. Click here for the latest action alerts, press releases and reports and testimonies from the farmers and consumers who have attended.


USDA Announces Locations for Listening Sessions on NAIS!

The USDA is holding seven "listening sessions" about the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).  The NAIS would impose severe hardships on small farmers, and impact anyone who owns even one livestock or poultry animal, even those raising animals for their own food or as pets.  While benefiting Big Ag's export market, NAIS could cripple small farmers providing grass-fed meats, eggs, and dairy to local consumers. 

Key Congressional leaders have called for a mandatory NAIS, and USDA Secretary Vilsack has indicated that he plans to push forward with some sort of program soon. It's going to take a lot of people speaking up loud and clear to keep a mandatory NAIS from being imposed on every livestock owner in America!   These listening sessions are a critical opportunity to get media attention on NAIS and demonstrate the level of opposition to the program.

The dates and cities are listed below.  As soon as we have the exact addresses, we will send out another alert. You can also check USDA's website for updates:  

Please plan to come to these meetings!  You can have an impact simply by being there and showing that a lot of people are opposed to NAIS!


Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Thursday, May 14
Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, 2300 N Cameron St.

Pasco, Washington
Monday, May 18
Trac Center, 6600 Burden Blvd.
Austin, Texas
Wednesday, May 20
Embassy Suites Hotel Austin Central, 5901 N IH-35
Birmingham, Alabama
Thursday, May 21
Cahaba Grand Convention Center, 3660 Grandview Parkway

Louisville, Kentucky
Friday, May 22
Crowne Plaza, Louisville Airport, 830 Phillips Lane
Storrs, Connecticut
Wednesday, May 27
University of Connecticut, Storrs Campus-Bishop Center, One Bishop Circle
Greeley, Colorado
Monday, June 1
Location TBD - check 

The meetings will take place from 9 am to 4 pm.

1) If you want to speak, plan a short statement (3-5 minutes).  We will send sample talking points in our next alert.
2) You can also bring written comments.  It's best to bring two copies - one to hand to USDA staff and one to keep so that you have a record of what you submitted.
3) The USDA coordinator has stated that the afternoon will consist of "facilitated sessions," where the attendees will be divided into groups to develop solutions.  Be prepared to politely disagree with the facilitator.  If they claim that a "consensus" has been reached with an answer that you don't agree with, say so!


If you want to speak in the morning or participate in the afternoon sessions, you must register.

1)   Send an email to [email protected]   In the subject line of the e-mail, indicate your name (or organization name) and the location of the meeting you plan to attend. If you wish to present public comments during one of the meetings, please include your name (or organization name) and address in the body of the message.
2) Call 301-734-0799 to register by phone

On-site registration:  From 8 am - 9am on the day of the meeting

You can also submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at:  
Although the USDA did not specify a deadline in its notice, a USDA official has stated that the deadline is Monday, June 1.

We will provide sample comments in our next alert.  If you want to comment before then, you can get ideas from the sample comments posted at:  


In the Federal Register notice announcing the meetings, USDA specifically asked for input on the topics listed below.  These questions will most likely form the basis for the facilitated sessions in the afternoon of each listening session.  Do not feel limited by these questions in preparing your oral or written comments!!

Cost: What are your concerns about the cost of the NAIS? What steps would you suggest APHIS use to address cost?

Impact on small farmers: What are your concerns about the effect of the NAIS on small farmers? What approaches would you suggest APHIS take to address the potential impact on small farmers?

Privacy and confidentiality: What are your concerns regarding how the NAIS will affect your operation's privacy and/or the confidentiality of your operation? What steps or tactics would you suggest APHIS use to address privacy and confidentiality issues?

Liability: What are your concerns about your operation's liability under the NAIS? What would you suggest APHIS consider to address liability concerns?

Premises registration: Do you have any suggestions on how to make premises registration, or the identification of farm or ranch locations, easier for stakeholders? How should we address your concerns regarding premises registration?

Animal identification: Do you have any suggestions on how to make animal identification practical and useful to stakeholders while simultaneously meeting the needs of animal health officials who must conduct disease tracebacks?

Animal tracing: Do you have any suggestions on how to make the animal tracing component practical, in particular the reporting of animal movements to other premises, while meeting the needs of animal health officials who must conduct disease tracebacks?"

USDA's Federal Register notice is posted at:  

USDA contact for more information: Dr. Adam Grow, Director, Surveillance and Identification Programs, National Center for Animal Health Programs, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 200, Riverdale, MD 20737; 301-734-3752.

With Regards,

Pete Kennedy, Esq
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund President

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