"We have the opportunity to build an animal ID network that works for producers, consumers as well as our trading partners," said Talent, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Marketing, Inspection and Product Promotion, which has jurisdiction over food safety and animal health. "This listening session will be an opportunity for farmers and ranchers to share their concerns and have their questions answered by the Administration. Working together we can address potential concerns and make certain the agriculture community has all the information it needs to ensure the program is a success."
Congressman Blunt said, "The USDA hearing recognizes the national prominence of Southwest Missouri's livestock industry and the impact a National Animal Identification Program would have on it. Within a 100-mile radius of Springfield there are more cow-calf herds than any comparable region in America. The Joplin Stockyards is the nation's second largest and Springfield's livestock center continues to grow in sales." Blunt continued, "Any animal identification program should address the issues of cost, confidentiality and liability and Southwest Missouri livestock producers should use this hearing to express their views on these critical issues. I am pleased that USDA chose Joplin for this important dialogue."
Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced in December 2003 that USDA would expedite the implementation of a national animal ID program. USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has received emergency funding to build and implement a national system that will quickly and efficiently traceback diseased or potentially diseased animals. The Administration testified that a premise identification system will be completed this summer, which will allow for the beginning of pilot programs to test identification systems.