February 16th, 2010 | Author: Amanda

The federal animal-tracking program NAIS would have been a disaster for small-scale farmers and homesteaders; the grassroots No-NAIS movement turned it into a PR nightmare for the USDA. Last week, Ag Sec’y Tom Vilsack proposed a new, more flexible program. Read on for details.

A NAIS history lesson

Way back in the day, some people at USDA dreamed up NAIS — a National Animal Identification System. While the intention — track disease, protect farms with good practices and hold others accountable– may have been noble, NAIS was the farming equivalent of “using a hatchet where you need a scalpel” (as a certain President might put it). NAIS would have required farmers, homesteaders and even pet owners to register their animals with the government, tag them, track and report their movements (across state borders, not around the farm), and submit yearly paperwork and fees. More