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SD Stockgrowers Join Other Ag Groups With Warning

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South Dakota Stockgrowers Association this past week joined other livestock organizations in warning producers about a brochure and application for premise registration which they received in the mail.  The letter used coercive tactics to intimidate producers into believing premise sign up, as part of the National Animal ID System (NAIS) is not only mandated by your state veterinary office but it is also necessary for Country of Origin labeling.

Reva, S.D. Rancher, Vaughn Meyer stated "Due to the negative consequences for producers who feel coerced into registering, an immediate public warning should be issued for all producers in South Dakota and surrounding states.  We urge these producers to ignore the misleading letter and educate themselves about the implications of their participation in the National Animal ID System by refusing to respond to this letter."

According to Meyer, "premise registration is the first step in gaining participation in the NAIS, which has been proposed by USDA as an animal disease tracking system.  Under mandatory NAIS, producers of any livestock animal would be required to have a 15-digit premise ID number which would be assigned to each of their animals through an electronic or computerized tagging system.  The cost would be born solely by the producer and would require them to keep extensive records and reporting logs regarding the movement of the animals between pastures and owners.  While NAIS is currently a voluntary program the letter sent by USDA adds to producers concerns about USDA's intentions to make the program mandatory."

He also said "The latest demand for premise sign up and 840 tagging is blatantly misleading in that:

It fails to mention that Premises sign up under NAIS is a "VOLUNTARY" program as anything other than voluntary would be unconstitutional.

It fails to state that NAIS is not mandatory for producers to be in compliance with Country of Origin Labeling.

It contains deceptive wording to trick the reader into believing the application originated at the state level when in fact it was drafted and mailed from USDA/APHIS in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

It contains phrases like, "must complete this section" and "verify under oath" which are contradictory to the highly controversial Sept.22, 2008 USDA/APHIS notice to veterinarians explaining how to issue non-voluntary premises identification numbers.

It encourages producers to invest in 840 ID tags for their "passport to Country of Origin Labeling", a program that does not require costly ID tags. "

Vaughn, who has done considerable research into NAIS, urged producers to be aware of the questionable tactics and integrity of the USDA/APHIS administration. "This is the very same governmental department which in the past has used bribery to enlist the support of agricultural youth organizations, breed organizations and tribal governments. This is a government entity that is demanding and assuring the security of information concerning your private property that is impossible under the Truth and Information Act.  And, ultimately, this misleading letter came from the same USDA that has been trying to convince producers that participation in NAIS is a straightforward and voluntary program."

The Stockgrowers Association reminds producers to familiarize themselves with the facts prior to signing any terms of application for a premise number or NAIS participation, and support legislation that prohibits the use of coercive tactics and prohibits NAIS from becoming mandatory in South Dakota.  True voluntary participation cannot be gained through coercive tactics.

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