Livestock producers should embrace premise ID



The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation held its 90th annual meeting Dec. 3-5. What a great achievement.

There were several excellent speakers discussing timely topics, One of these speakers was Ohio Agriculture Director Robert J. Boggs, who commented on the reduction of federal funding to the states for disease control.

I believe with federal funding being cut to the states for disease control, livestock producers should do whatever they can to help themselves. Premise identification is one way to do this.

One of the policy proposals presented at the annual meeting was: “In order to be competitive in the world marketplace and to ensure the safety of our food supply, Ohio Farm Bureau encourages all livestock producers to register their premises,” but the proposal was voted down.

The two greatest fears livestock farmers face are fire and disease. Think of all the time and money that is spent trying to prevent fires. Premise ID is a proven way to prevent the spread of livestock diseases and it costs absolutely nothing.

Premise ID and animal ID have been required in the United Kingdom since 2001. It is also required in all 25 European Union countries plus many other foreign countries. Canada, our neighbor to the north also requires it. And, since March 1, 2007, Michigan has required Premise ID and Animal ID. In 200B, Illinois required premise ID’s for all state, county, 4-H, FFA exhibitors at shows and fairs. North Carolina also requires premise ID for all state fair exhibitors, and Indiana is requiring it for all dairy herds on test.

Why is Ohio so afraid of a premise identification program?

The purpose of the program is to be able to trace a disease outbreak as soon as possible. Think how long it took the United States to trace the cow that was discovered with BSE in Washington in 2003, and also think of the drastic effect it had on beef prices and the cattle market in general.

The ID programs are in place and working well in many countries and within several states in the U.S. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to put it into action in Ohio.

This program is not just about beef and slaughtered animals going into the food chain. In the dairy industry, many dairies have heifers raised by custom heifer growers, These custom growers can have heifers from several different herds at one time. Shortly before calving, these heifers will go back to their original herds. Think what a disease outbreak in a facility like this would mean without having traceability of animals.

Today, you can go into any drug store or grocery store selling prepackaged items and these items will all have a code on them that can be traced back to the manufacturer and all the stores that received the product. We need that same traceability in the livestock industry today.

We should take pride in the products we produce and be able to ensure the safety in our food to consumers in the global marketplace. Premise identification is a way to make that happened.

Bill McKarns
Hanoverton, Ohio


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  1. Mr.McKarns is wrong about premise ID making the food supply safer. Even the USDA has stated that NAIS is not a food safety plan. NAIS stops at the door of the slaughterhouse, and most food contamination happens after that.
    Premise ID has not prevented the spread of a disease anywhere in the world, and its cost is the loss of my Fourth Amendment rights. I questioned Neil Hammerschmidt about that, and he wouldn’t give me a direct answer. In fact, USDA has never responded to that concern of private property owners. A PIN would also need to be disclosed to a potential real estate purchaser since it carries with the land until it is paved over. Not disclosing a PIN could be a potential lawsuit. Another problem with being enrolled in NAIS is that the USDA could change the rules at any time. Would you sign an open ended contract that you can’t get out of?
    If businesses want to participate in a tracking plan for their product, they should keep it to themselves and not involve private citizens who gain little if anything, while having to pay and give up their Constitutional rights.

    Finally, Mr. McKarns should be aware of why USDA is pushing this plan. In order to “increase the speed of commerce” for international businesses, they’ve moved away from their zero risk import policy that has protected this country up until now, and replaced it with a managed risk policy. Considering all the toxic food we’ve imported from China, I’d have to say they aren’t managing it very well.

  2. We would like to address the following quote from the above article:

    “In 200B, Illinois required premise ID’s for all state, county, 4-H, FFA exhibitors at shows and fairs.”

    Mr. McKarns is mistaken in his information on the above. The Illinois Department of Agriculture attempted to bypass the Legislative Process by “Mandating” the use of Premises ID at State, County, 4-H, and FFA exhibitions October 31, 2007.

    Once this information was pointed out to the Legislative body in Illinois, Senator Sullivan swiftly introduced HB 5776 to prevent this abuse of power by any agency in Illinois. HB5776 went before both the State House (108-0) and Senate (057-0) without a single NAY vote and currently awaits the Rules Committee. Clearly the Illinois Legislation is listening to the citizens when they voice their disapproval against this program.

    While the website of the Illinois Department of Agriculture has been updated to this issue – the fallacy still prevails that one must register to partcipte – this IS NOT THE CASE.

    The livestock owners of Illinois do not want this program developed by the USDA. Through Cooperative Agreements obtained through FOIA, we have determined that the IDOA has been paid to implement what the USDA cannot due to a large public outcry.

    Mrs. Michael Sabo
    Illinois Independent Consumers and Farmers Association

  3. First of all, Illinois does NOT require premise ID for anything. The IDOA dropped that requirement after overwhelming support of an anti-NAIS bill swept our House of Representatives in April 2008.

    ALL NAIS is, is another corporate bailout. It is also a means of transferring ownership of private and personal property to the government.

    There is no food (nor animal, for that matter) safety issue which will be improved by this program. Not one.

    In fact, the USDA has discontinued or drastically scaled back testing for certain diseases. In one case (Creekstone Farms), they won a lawsuit on appeal which PROHIBITS the company (at its own expense) from testing for BSE.

    THIS IS FOOD SAFETY??? This is a trade “HARMonization” program and that is all.

    Take a look at what is going on in Australia and the EU countries… Take a look at the WORLDWIDE protest of this program (under whatever names… NAIT in Australia et)

    NAIS stops at the slaughterhouse, where most human food-borne disease contaminants are encountered. Check with the CDC website as to where most contaminants that enter the food chain come from!

    NAIS doesn’t stop illegal importation of diseased animals, as USDA properly enforced inspections and quarantines should (IF they ever happened). Think Bird Flu. One illegal chicken… Hmmm… Where’s the safety here?

    What NAIS does, is turn private property (with property rights) into a premise (which is a conveyance in a deed), and livestock owners (with personal property rights) into stakeholders (people who hold property for its rightful owner).

    Now they are trying to say it will help with COOL. However, any 5th-grader can read the COOL law and see that it specifically prohibits ALL programs such as NAIS (if they are mandatory).

    So what happens? They CALL it voluntary and then issue a memo that requires vets to register farms (Memo 575-19). Then they have to revise it, because requiring vets to register property effectively makes it mandatory (Memo 575-19, Dec).
    But the changes have little REAL effect.

    Interesting that a second memo wasn’t actually released, just a “corrected” version of the first one. Not “normal” procedure.

    Legal definitions count. Semantics count. Procedure counts.

    USDA has laid its hand on the table, and people just don’t want to look at the cards.

  4. Mr. McKarns stated “Premise ID is a proven way to prevent the spread of livestock diseases and it costs absolutely nothing.”.

    The USDA has spent over $130 million of our taxpayer money on NAIS. In addition to the $130 million there have been millions of dollars in earmarks for organizations such as the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) who have pushed for NAIS.

    How can anyone believe that a database of names, addresses and a 7-digit premise id number residing inside a computer in Ft. Collins, Colorado is going to prevent the spread of disease? Quarantines, vaccinations, and testing prevent the spread of the disease.

    Mr. McKarns says “I believe with federal funding being cut to the states for disease control, livestock producers should do whatever they can to help themselves. Premise identification is one way to do this.”.

    Since 2004 the USDA has spent over $130 million on NAIS – on average, $26 million per year with no end in sight.

    Why not allocate those funds for disease control or disease prevention programs?

    Regarding, the 2003 BSE Washington state trace back, South Dakota did its trace back in a matter of hours using their time-tested, inexpensive, brand program.

  5. Mr. McKarns would you or Farm Bureau please provide documents to verify your belief in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) for the readers?

    “Food Safety”
    Please read the USDA-NAIS User Guide pg. 2
    “Additionally, NAIS is not a food safety protection system. The United States already has a comprehensive system of food safety policies, testing, and inspection requirements in place to ensure the safety of our products.”

    “Disease Prevention”
    Please read USDA-NAIS User Guide Pg. 6

    “While NAIS will not “prevent” the initial ocurrence of a disease, it can reduce or prevent the spread of disease.”

    CRS Report for Congress Order Code RS22653
    “Costs and Who Pays”
    “An animal ID system will impose a variety of costs, such as for tags or other identifying devices and their application, and data systems to track animals. Cost estimates of a national system have varied broadly — and are not directly comparable, a reflection of estimators’ differing assumptions and of the varying designs of proposed programs. As the extent of traceability increases, so do likely costs. A related policy question is who should pay — the industry (and ultimately consumers),government, or both? USDA’s current thinking calls for expenses to be shared (e.g.,database costs funded by government and the identifying devices by producers).”

    Mr. McKarns, We are concerned about:
    Food safety.
    USDA’s trade policies with diseased countries. USDA allowing meatpackers to inspect their own meat “on a good faith basis”.
    Market control and captive supply.
    Limiting competition “anti-turst laws”
    Truth in labeling. We want consumer labels not a corporate labels.
    USDA lowering safety standards.
    USDA funding cut for disease prevention.

    Please support your farmers and consumers.

  6. Mr. McKarns, probably a good and likeable fellow, is as lost as a hog in a hale storm about NAIS. In a Western Horseman on-line poll livestock producers voted 91% dead against NAIS in any form. The Farm Bureau has spent thousands in getting members to surrender to premises enrollment of NAIS and each time they vote on it the members vote it down. The Farm Bureau members are smarter then their leaders who promote NAIS.
    Check the web site for over 100 factual articles on NAIS, the costs of compliance and enforcements once it is mandatory, as the USDA wants to do it. At this time it is important that Mr. McKarns and any who have surrendered their premises to NAIS to file with Gary Wilson, in charge of Ohio NAIS,to “opt out” immediately. It will cost a lot of time and perhaps require an attorney to get your property back away from USDA, but it is worth it. Get the title back 100% and do it for yor family. Thanks for the good job you do at Farm and Dairy. Darol

  7. I wish I could agree with the article above.

    First of all, the funding is being cut because so much money is being spent marketing this program. There is no reason for NAIS, never was, never will be – OTHER than trade normalization.

    Every country that has instituted this program has seen its independent and small farmers driven out of business in varying percentages. Each one has had increased problems with food safety, and most of them have problems with importing diseased animals.

    If you think we have problems in this country NOW, wait till NAIS comes in.

    I don’t see any reason to give up private property rights, privacy, and the right to only have my home searched if a warrant is produced – especially not for the pack of lies being sold as NAIS.

    There is no food safey, it stops where contamination starts.

    There is no disease CONTROL – it will not stop illegal importing diseased animals. It will not prevent BSE cattle out of Canada!

    It will cost you 3 – 10 times the money at the grocery for meat products, and anything made from animal products (wool, leather, angora, mohair, adhesives and all manner of other items will at least triple.

    Organic, vegetarian and vegan lovers (not to mention “locovores” will all see the same increases (where do you think the fertilizer comes from people?)

    NAIS costs the small farmer by the head for each animal, and companies that poison us with their hormones, anti-biotics and other chemicals get to pay by the herd.

    ALL NAIS is is a means of putting more money in the pockets of those that least deserve it.

    Remember too – any time we are talking about the government (angencies, too), we are talking about laws. While NAIS isn’t law yet, the USDA apparently can make it mandatory, which is just as good.

    Check out the legal definitions of “stakeholder” and “premise” – then ask why farmers become stakeholders, and the forms and cooperative agreements ask them to register their farms AS premises, rather than simply asking them to register their farms.

    Semantics count in law and regulation.

    There is no reason an intelligent person that values choice and quality in the foods he feeds his family would support this program. NOT ONE.


    You said in your letter to the editor and I quote “One of the policy proposals presented at the annual meeting was: “In order to be competitive in the world marketplace and to ensure the safety of our food supply, Ohio Farm Bureau encourages all livestock producers to register their premises,” but the proposal was voted down.”.

    The key words here are “the proposal was voted down”.

    I have to conclude that your opinion is the minor position of Farm Bureau. I am very happy to know that Farm Bureau is finally coming to its senses and realizing the dangers in the NAIS program.

    NAIS may be the boondoggle of the century rivaling the bubble in the housing market and the resulting depression we seem to be heading into.

  9. I can only agree with all those who have written in opposition to the premise ID and the USDA’s National Animal Identification System. It is in short a way to acquire control over American’s property rights and a way for the BiG Ag Businesses including Pharm Industry and RFID Companies to line their pockets at the expense of being controled by a One World Government System……For those who want to know more you can go to and there are plenty of links you can go to from there to get a grasp of what is truly at risk on this issue. We cannot risk falling asleep on this issue for the fox has gotten into the Hen house literally !

  10. “Premise identification is one way to do this. ”

    NAIS? Not only no, but H*LL NO. I don’t think Mr McKarns has done his homework.

  11. The supporters of NAIS never seem to get tired of spreading partial truths, misinformation and/or lies.

    A Premise ID will protect my animals from disease? Right. To be competitive in the world marketplace all animal producers should get a premise ID? Even those who do not participate in the world marketplace? Why?

    UK, EU countries, Canada and many other countries have it. Your mom ever ask you “If all of your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?” Or why do cattle with BSE still show up in Canada? The NAIS solution for an disease outbreak is to kill (I mean “depopulate”) any possibly infected heard….no testing. Ask UK farmers how depopulation worked for their cattle industry. Why wasn’t Austrailia even mentioned? Cattlemen there have a lot of choice words about NLIS (their equivilant on NAIS).

    If producers need an ID program because THEY WANT to participate in the global market, let them develop one. Those that do not wish to globalize don’t need to join. And keep the frickin government out of it!

  12. Bill McKarns said, “The two greatest fears livestock farmers face are fire and disease.” Fire is, by far, not a on this farmer’s list of top fears. And I can handle disease. I have my own practical knowledge and that of my trusted veterinarian for that. Disease happens. Always has. Always will. But disease comes second to my fear of a government goon stepping his egotistical rear on my property and taking away my right to provide myself, my family, and my friends with wholesome food that will (hopefully) never be touched by the likes of the idiots that think fewer inspections and more paperwork are the answer to safer food. You want to know where your food comes from? Grow it yourself or have a PERSONAL relationship with the person that does. Go directly to the source. Don’t let hundreds of other people touch your food before it gets to your plate. Please oppose NAIS.

  13. “And, since March 1, 2007, Michigan has required Premise ID and Animal ID.”

    And we all know Michigan is a leader in all things good. Just look at their economy.

    …”Indiana is requiring it for all dairy herds on test.”

    Indiana requires premises ID for almost every livestock owner. Period. Thanks to a rule that was not voted on by ELECTED officials, but by an appointed board that has no requirement to listen to the grievances of the citizens of the state. Thanks to this rule, farmers have reported that some potential buyers have been scared away from buying land and livestock in Indiana, because they do not want to become entangled in this corporate-backed government-run scheme.

  14. Dear Bill,
    I am so glad to see that Farm Bureau members are finally getting educated on the downfalls of NAIS and voting against the FB hierarchy that is pushing this ill-conceived program.

    I do want to reinforce that you are out of touch with the truth about NAIS, either by lack of investigative research or by the drinking of the USDA “Kool-aid”.

    As an American, I value my constitutional rights of which the USDA wants to strip through the implementation of this plan. It is so easy for arm-chair reporters to sit there and agree to the taking of my rights when it does not affect them. By supporting NAIS, you are encumbering my right to farm. How dare you!

    Just because other countries and states require NAIS or a version of it under USDA, UN, OIE, or WTO auspices, does make the program a healthy or needed approach to livestock farming. Do your research; it is not working in other countries.

    What NAIS compliance is doing at the local level is causing good programs like FFA and 4H to stop. Local agriculture will be greatly diminished by the overt illegal actions by state Ag depts in requiring premises registration in order to compete in these youth programs. The USDA is also using these programs to manipulate Premises Registration through coercion and fear, without parental knowledge.

    The US currently has the top programs in place for reportable diseases. Show me a list of 10 disease outbreaks that occurred in the US in the last 5 years that was a direct result of domestic livestock that affected the safety of our food supply. Do not include the diseased animals or food supplies that have been imported, nor any processed food recalls once a slaughter house has been placed in the process.

    You talk about the BSE cow, which came from Canada. IF the USDA did not lax its import laws allowing these cows in, it never would have been an issue. The USDA is at fault for allowing import of diseased animal.

    Excuse me, NAIS is reinventing the wheel. As I stated, the US already has optimum programs in place to stop disease spread. The millions of dollars already spent the USDA to propagandized NAIS would have been better spent enforcing current laws and educating farmers that need assistance in livestock management.

    The fact that states are not getting federal monies for disease control is because the USDA is spending it hot and heavy on NAIS illegally.

    Your anecdotal scenario about heifer growers is not a good illustration. It is too basic in its application to NAIS. This is the least of your worries where animals co-mingle. The traceback of facilities like this have excellent traceback because as you stated they go back to their intended herds. Everyone in this scenario has records, should a reportable disease occur. This just reinforces that our current programs are working without NAIS. There has NEVER been an issue in this part of the industry with disease spread as far as I know, heifer growers have not made the headlines for disease occurances.

    And yes, we can all go to the stores today and see where all products come from – its called C-H-I-N-A, China. We do NOT need that kind of traceability in livestock. Just as China has shut down all trade and manufacturing, BIG Ag will do the same to local producers; resulting in inferior food, like China has done. If you have one manufacturer making all the food because the local farmer is driven out you get China.

    Local farmers do take pride in what we produce because we have to look our neighbors straight in the face as we sell to them, Purdue, Smithfield, Cargill and importers do not. They hide behind corporate facilities.

    Do yourself a favor, get out from behind your desk and visit the farms of those Farm Bureau members that opposed NAIS and find really truth to write about.

  15. First, I would like to say forget about satisfying the global marketplace and the UN and let’s worry about foods for our own here in the USA.

    NAIS doesn’t do this, as Mr. McKarns states when he says we need to “insure safety in our food to consumers in the global marketplace”. NAIS is a tool ONLY for the global market. It cares nothing about the American citizen and the safety of their food or the safety of the livestock. In fact, under NAIS, livestock are totally disposable, as the USDA would have no problem “depopulating….just in case….”

    There are 3 ways that the American people can insure that they have safe food. DO NOT support NAIS, DO support your local farmer by buying direct when at all possible, and STOP buying from China, who seems to be THE MOST dangerous food source there is, globally, along with bg Ag (and their genetic modifications, chemicals, etc.,) right here in the US tied for first as well.

    If the USDA really was so concerned about food safety, they would be considering China and Big Ag a bigger threat to food safety than the family farm. But they don’t seem to see it that way. It is money that is talking, not safety.

  16. Let’s say I have an illness but I force YOU to take and pay for the meds then I go declare to the world I am cured…What an insane proposal and benefits neither of us. But that is how NAIS will work. Big ag wants to show the world what a safe meat supply they have to sell globally but while they get one lot number per groups of factory farmed animals, and few reporting events, the rest of us are required to register our premises, microchip and report every birth, death and off property movement and then face depopulation should animals disease be suspected. How is my telling the govt everywhere I ride my horse insure that the Japanese are eating safe American raised beef?

  17. Well – The “should” is about to be changed to “Shall” folks

    Every Thursday for the past 6 Months, Government Officials have raided homes and businesses. Sometimes at Gunpoint, sometimes with a Warrant,
    and sometimes with nothing more then the burly bodies that intimidate those about to be oppressed.

    Recite the Names below:

    Stowers, Greg Niewendorp, Hixon, Miller, Griepentrog, Palmer

    Now add your name.

    Don’t shrug aside if you are a businesses that provides goods and services to Livestock owners. If we don’t own Livestock – you have nothing we need or want.

    Today, Thursday of course, H.R. 1105 is awaiting assignment to Committee in the Senate. It stands poised to allocate $289 million to APHIS for
    the implementation of the National Animal Identification System. It also outlines the time frame to implement in 2009 the tracking of 33 species.

    An example: Poultry – “By July 1, 2009 – achieve 98% traceability in the Commercial Poultry Industry…

    That means if Murray McMurray sends you a chick – it had better be traceable from their end and you better trace it when it gets to your homestead. Think the cost of a Broiler is bad now? Think what it will be when every chick that leaves that plant will be accounted for.

    The House managed to pass this “Omnibus 2009” in 24 hours and we have no
    reason to believe that the Senate will not as well.

    What are your going to do? We as living human beings do not go to the polls to elect officials to represent Multi-National Corporations or
    Lobbyists paid by groups attempting to get their piece of the pie.


    The first person to contact is, then your personal Legislator. Then every livestock owner, feed supplier, or livestock equipment provider. Get them to do the same.

    The message is simple :

    We don’t want, nor will we comply with the National Animal Identification System.
    We do not want H.R. 1105 out of Senate Committee until the provision to implement NAIS tracability on 2009 is removed.

    We want it stalled and stalled Friday 27, 2009.

    Freedom Friday Folks – make it count.


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