[Ok-sus] Farm and Consumer Organizations protest animal ID scheme

Bob Waldrop bwaldrop1952 at att.net
Tue Sep 18 23:26:20 CDT 2012


Farm and Consumer Organizations Protest Animal ID Scheme

Drought-Stricken Farmers and Ranchers Cannot Afford Costly Government 

AUSTIN, TX (September 18, 2012): Organizations representing family 
farmers, ranchers, and consumers from across the country are fighting to 
protect drought-stricken livestock producers from a new costly 
regulatory program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Animal 
Disease Traceability (ADT) system, originally known as the National 
Animal Identification System (NAIS), remains a contentious issue because 
of the undue burdens that it will impose on livestock producers and 
costs that will be passed down to consumers, contributing to even higher 
food costs.

In a letter to the Congressional Office of Management and Budget, 63 
organizations have written to urge that the new and costly program be 
halted in part due to the nation-wide drought and the resulting crisis 
faced by so many farmers and ranchers.

"This is the worst widespread drought since the 1930's Dustbowl," noted 
Gilles Stockton, a Montana rancher and member of the Western 
Organization of Resource Councils. "As our ranchers struggle to keep the 
herds alive through this disaster, they cannot afford to take on new 
regulatory burdens."

The letter to the OMB notes that the USDA's fiscal analysis 
significantly underestimated the cost impacts of its rule to both cattle 
and poultry producers. The organizations contend, "while the agency 
claims that the costs are under $100 million annually, independent 
studies indicate that the costs could be *three to five times that high 
for cattle producers alone*."

"The USDA's cost analysis is riddled with flawed assumptions," asserted 
Judith McGeary, Executive Director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom 
Alliance, who serves as Vice-Chair of the Secretary's Advisory Committee 
on Animal Health. "Along with severely underestimating the costs to 
cattle producers, the agency wholly ignored the costs that will be 
imposed on tens of thousands of people who own poultry, from small 
diversified farmers to backyard poultry enthusiasts."

The organizations' letter notes that costs imposed on family farmers and 
ranchers go beyond monetary burdens.

"Combined with the soaring cost of feed and the drought-induced lack of 
forage, this new regulation would drive us in the direction of even 
fewer producers, when what we need to maintain a secure food supply for 
America is more," argues Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF USA.

As justification for the costs, the USDA's Regulatory Impact Analysis 
focused almost entirely on the benefits to the export market that will 
allegedly occur.

"The new regulations do nothing to improve food safety for consumers," 
states Patty Lovera of Food & Water Watch. "Instead this proposal would 
allow large meatpackers easier access to export markets, at the expense 
of U.S. livestock producers."

The organizations signing the letter include: American Grassfed 
Association, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Cattle Producers of 
Louisiana, Cattle Producers of Washington, Cattlemen's Texas Longhorn 
Registry, Central City Coop (WA), Certified Naturally Grown, Citizens 
for Private Property Rights (MO), Dakota Rural Action, Davis Mountain 
Trans Pecos Heritage Association (TX), Family Farm Defenders, Farm and 
Ranch Freedom Alliance, Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, Food and 
Water Watch, Food Democracy Now!, GardenShare (NY), Idaho Rural Council, 
Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska, Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming, 
Just Food, Kansas Cattlemen's Association, Local Harvest, Maine 
Alternative Agriculture Association, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners 
Association, Michigan Land Trustees, Mississippi Livestock Markets 
Association, Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Montana Farmers Union, 
National Family Farm Coalition, National Health Freedom Action, National 
Health Freedom Coalition, Natural Environmental Ecological Management, 
Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, North Country Sustainability 
Center (MA), Northeast Organic Farming Association - Connecticut, 
Northeast Organic Farming Association -- Interstate Council, Northeast 
Organic Farming Association - Massachusetts, Northeast Organic Farming 
Association - New Hampshire, Northeast Organic Farming Association - New 
Jersey, Northern Illinois Draft Horse and Mule Association, Northern 
Plains Resource Council (MT), Oglala Sioux Livestock and Landowners 
Association, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Oklahoma 
Composting Council, Oregon Livestock Producers Association, Organic 
Consumers Association, Organization for Competitive Markets, Oscar 
Romero Catholic Worker House (OK), Powder River Basin Resource Council, 
R-CALF USA, Rural Vermont, Slow Food Austin (TX), Slow Food Nebraska, 
South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, Sustainable Food Center (TX), 
Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, The Cornucopia 
Institute, Turner Farm, Virginia Land Rights Coalition, Western Colorado 
Congress, Western Organization of Resource Councils, Weston A Price 
Foundation, Wintergarden Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (TX).

The letter is available online at 

For more information, contact:

Judith McGeary, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, 512-484-8821

Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA, 406-252-2516

Patty Lovera, Food & Water Watch, 202-683-2465

Gilles Stockton, Western Organization of Resource Councils, 406-366-4463

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