Funding for animal ID and tracking announced by USDA

Aug 11, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Twenty-nine states and tribal projects will receive $11.64 million in federal grants to develop livestock identification and tracking systems, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman has announced.

"This first phase of funding to states and tribes takes us closer to our goal of implementing a national animal identification system (NAIS) for all U.S. livestock and poultry animals," Veneman said on Aug 5. The project aims to create a system to identify farms and other sites exposed to foreign animal diseases.

The grants come just 3 months after the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it would spend $18.8 million for a national system to help contain animal disease outbreaks.

Last December's discovery of a cow in Washington state with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) heightened concerns about animal tracking in part because officials never found all the cattle from her birth herd.

The 29 recent grant recipients can register sites through USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) or other accepted tracking system. Their funded plans call for electronically collecting intra- and interstate animal movement records, integrating data-collection technologies at livestock marketing facilities and processing plants, tracking imported livestock, and electronically gathering animal movement data as livestock are loaded on and off trucks and trailers, according to a USDA news release.

The department's eventual goal is to be able to identify all animals and premises that have had direct contact with a foreign animal disease or disease of concern within 48 hours of discovery, USDA said.

Grants range from $1.2 million (for a tri-national proposal that includes the Navajo and Hopi tribes; Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico, and Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico) to $50,000 for the Texas-Oklahoma-Osage Nation NAIS project.

The $11.64 million is part of $18.8 million budgeted for NAIS this year. The remaining funds are being used for developing the database infrastructure, training at state and federal levels, and launching an education and outreach campaign to improve voluntary cooperation, said Amy Spillman, APHIS spokeswoman. The program is tentatively budgeted at $33 million next year.

See also:

USDA news release

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