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Killing America’s wildlife: Our cattle ranchers are next

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Reported by: Marti Oakley

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Secretary "Sally" probably peeing his pants over this one!

Bloody Ken Salizar (Sally), head of the Department of the Interior and his goon squad, The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are now considering expanding their slaughter of wild and protected animals, in the Western States.  Apparently, slaughtering America’s wild horse herds isn’t enough. In conjunction with the USDA, another of those privately owned federal corporations that works against the public while telling us that their assaults on agriculture is good for us, Secretary “Sally” is contemplating butchering 400 wild bison that have ventured out of Yellowstone Park in search of food due to the harsh winter. The USDA is eager to help; supplying all the false science they can conceivably come up with to justify killing off another irreplaceable herd of wild animals.  More

NAIS: Still the greatest threat to family ranchers and herders

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Marti Oakley (c) copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved

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In response to the refusal of so many agricultural land owners to enter into the contract with state agencies that had taken bribe money euphemistically referred to as “co-operative funding” from the USDA, the state agencies began a campaign of extortion and coercion against agricultural land owners, withholding licensing, conducting swat team raids and destroying family businesses and lives. 

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The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) proposed by the USDA a few years back, resulted in a bitterly fought battle between government and livestock producers across the country. Most saw the hidden agenda for this theft of agricultural land and the attempts to also create “national herds”; depriving livestock owners of their property and relegating them to the status of “stakeholders”; meaning they owned nothing and only had an interest in, the livestock in question.  USDA, claiming the system was needed if they were to be able to quickly “trace back” the source of contaminated animal products versus, livestock producers who knew there was already a more than adequate system in place across the  country to do this very thing; one that had proven time again to be more than adequate.  It was this knowledge that an efficient system was already in place that tipped off the producers, and even those of us who aren’t producers, that something else was afoot.  Whatever that something was, we all knew that some other issue was at stake and there were those who were waiting in the wings to profit from it.  

Now, don’t get to thinking NAIS went away, because it didn’t.  As we reported last spring:

A March 2, 2010 Agriculture Committee hearing televised live on CSPAN gives a clear picture of what’s ahead for domestic farmers, ranchers and herders in the US..  Deputy Secretary Kathleen A. Merrigan cheerfully announced the “new age of enforcement” citing the intent to increase “risk assessment and better surveillance”.  In other words……based on only their assumption there might be a problem but with no real cause or evidence, the USDA in cooperation with bought and paid for state agriculture departments that took bribe money to implement the USDA business plans for creating a police state, USDA is stepping up its assault on domestic farming and ranching.” More

Vilsack announces new budget for 2011 for USDA…..and a new plan of assault on America’s farmers and herders:Part 1

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by: Marti Oakley (c)copyright 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Vilsack alludes to the fact that USDA will establish “partnerships” between state and federal government.  These partnerships are necessary as Title 7 of the US Code is non-positive law.  This means Title 7 Agriculture, has never been codified into law and is not enforceable on the federal level as agriculture is not in the enumerated powers of the federal government. 

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A March 2, 2010 Agriculture Committee hearing televised live on CSPAN gives a clear picture of what’s ahead for domestic farmers, ranchers and herders in the US..  Deputy Secretary Kathleen A. Merrigan cheerfully announced the “new age of enforcement” citing the intent to increase “risk assessment and better surveillance”.  In other words……based on only their assumption there might be a problem but with no real cause or evidence, the USDA in cooperation with bought and paid for state agriculture departments that took bribe money to implement the USDA business plans for creating a police state, USDA is stepping up its assault on domestic farming and ranching. 

One way or another, the seizure of privately owned agricultural property is going to take place; the USDA will seize control of the US food supply. More

CFS claims victory while Roundup Ready alfalfa gets ready for 2010 planting

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By Barbara H. Peterson

Farm Wars

While the Center for Food Safety (CFS) does its victory dance claiming that it won the Supreme Court genetically modified alfalfa (GM) case, and no GM alfalfa will be forthcoming any time soon, the Roundup Ready seed is already sitting in the wings ready to be planted. The House of Representatives just sent a letter asking Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to allow planting for the fall 2010 season. I guess they figure approval is a done deal, so why waste time, eh?  More

Beef Checkoff declares independence

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By Alan Guebert / Columnist | Posted: Saturday, June 26, 2010 10:30 pm

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In a toughly worded statement last week, the executive committee of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the group created by Congress to collect and oversee the $1-per-head beef checkoff, served notice that it strongly backed the independence of the Federation of State Beef Councils in the debate over the checkoff’s future.

“The Federation,” noted the CBB “should be separate from any policy organization… The checkoff is owned by, and responsible to, all producers and importers, and no specific organization.”

The declaration of independence was aimed directly at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. For almost two years NCBA has been designing and debating a massive “governance” plan to pull state beef councils under its meatpacker-dominated umbrella.

Several state councils, who, by law, control 50 percent of all checkoff funds (the Cattlemen’s Beef Board controls the other half), view the plan as little more than a NCBA grab for a chunk of the $80 million or so per year checkoff. More

A Summary and Wrap Up of the Iowa Ag Competition Hearings

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ANTI_TRUST & COMPTETITION POLICY BLOG

Posted by Peter Carstensen     March 15, 2010

“Little was said about dairy (the subject of a session in Wisconsin in June), poultry contracts (subject of a session in Alabama in May) or the status of Capper-Volstead”

The DOJ-USDA Session on Agricultural Competition–March 12, Ankeny, Iowa

Farmers were instrumental in forcing the adoption of the Sherman Act and they remain one of the most interested and commitment constituencies for antitrust. The turnout at the session was substantial with estimates of the audience ranging from over 650 to more than 800. As one speaker put in, “I have never seen so many people interested in antitrust law except lawyers getting CLE credits.” Another sign of interest is that interested parties have filed more than 15,000 comments related to these workshops (available at the DOJ web site).

Attorney General Holder and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack each emphasized a commitment to competition and to addressing competitive issues in markets involving agriculture. This is the first real cooperation between the agencies each of which has significant actual or potential authority to affect competition. Also present was a representation of the CFTC who signaled that agency’s commitment. Conspicuously absent was the FTC which has authority over retail grocery issues as well as all processed food production except meat and dairy products. When, after several comments about competitive issues resulting from retailer and general grocery manufacturer buyers power, the question of FTC absence was addressed the organizers said the FTC would be “invited” to the final meeting in DC in December. Informal conversation suggested to me that the FTC has signaled disinterest in these proceedings. I hope that is not true as it would mean a major gap in enforcement. More

SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES DETAILS AND OBJECTIVES OF USDA’S OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL MARKETS

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What the hell is the USDA, a dysfunctional and non-relevant agency, unable to perform or meet its basic functions doing in environmental markets?  This is nothing more than a smoke screen for seizing agricultural lands and property under the guise of environmental concerns.  And how can they rationalize the biodiversity goal when they have helped facilitate and end biodiversity via their collusion with bio-pirates such as Monsanto?   Marti

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WASHINGTON, March 10, 2010–Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced new details about the functions and objectives of USDA’s Office of Environmental Markets (OEM). OEM, now part of USDA’s Natural Resources and Environment mission area, will work to carry out USDA’s climate and rural revitalization goals by supporting the development of emerging markets for carbon, water quality, wetlands and biodiversity.

“Environmental markets leverage private investments that result in cleaner air, improved water quality, restored wetlands, and enhanced wildlife habitat,” said Vilsack. “These markets have the potential to become a new economic driver for rural America, exactly what we need to support a bold, creative future for America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities.” More

NAIS ~COMING SOON, MANDATORY INTERSTATE REQUIREMENTS

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By Darol Dickinson & Russ McAfee


Dr. W. Ron DeHaven is CEO of the American Veterinary Medical Assn.

 DeHaven’s Audio: “Click Here

USDA Sec. Vilsack announced during the morning of Feb. 5 that NAIS was over, ended, no more.

His customary emotionless announcement was fairly brief, but the detailed USDA Factsheet (Click here for factsheet) released simultaneously required seven pages of small print describing the animal ID “will do’s” and “won’t do’s”–all of which will be enforced at some future date in a to-be-determined manner.

The New York Times reported this based on information from an “unidentified USDA informant.”

At once thousands of emails flew from around the globe with nearly as much excitement outside the US as the home land.

Ranch and cattle producers smiled and nodded.

But it seems the victory may be short lived. More

Jolley: USDA Tries Mouth-To-Mouth On NAIS

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CATTLE NETWORK

www.Cattlenetwork.com and www.Agnetwork.com.

The Source for Cattle News

 02/08/2010

The Associated Press misreported this morning that “The USDA Abandons Stalled Animal ID Program.” A press release issued last Friday by the USDA hints at another fate. More

Staging the collapse of private dairy operations: A corporate coup’, Part 2

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All rights are reserved without exception and will be protected. No reprinting, redistributing or excerpting by electronic or any other means without the express written permission of the author. Obscuring or obliterating of original URL or author, re-titling or otherwise reproducing the title or contents is expressly prohibited. 
ppjg-48Copyright: October 23, 2009 by Marti Oakley  fireflyari@meltel.net

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Part 2

In Part 1 of this series I addressed what appears to be the participation of the State of Georgia, its Extension services and Land Grant universities in conjunction with New Zealand Dairy Management Systems and Cullen Agritech, along with several other newly created investment collectives, and individuals.  

The planned eradication of private dairy operations being practiced in Georgia will be the model used to seize all land useful for dairying, across the southeastern U.S.  Once this model begins systematically being put in place in the Southeastern states, the elimination of dairy herds in the rest of the nation will begin in earnest.  All milk will be produced in this one geographical area. 

It appears that not only is there a concerted effort afoot in Georgia to convert dairy production to an industrialized corporate complex, but at the same time a massive battle is being fought in the northeast by small and independent dairy producers being driven out of business by corporate mergers designed to prevent them from conducting their businesses, forcing this market into industrialization. 

The Sherman Act and Anti trust More

NAIS/Premises ID….FCLDF takes it to the courts

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farmer3_deesA decision by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, located in the Washington District of Criminals, throwing out a lawsuit brought by Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FCLDF) asking the court to halt the implementation of NAIS, was based on her assertion that there is no federal law and/or, no federal regulation ordering the implementation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).  FCLDF brought the suit asking for temporary injunctive relief……a move that was good in its intentions but obviously filed too early.  As no law or regulation exists to authorize NAIS/Premises ID and the claims by USDA and Tom Vilsack go unsubstantiated despite repeated requests to produce the authority they claim, injunctive relief could not be granted as no law has been passed …yet,….although multiple legislative assaults are in the works.  More

FIRST NAIS LISTENING SESSION BY USDA/APHIS

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For Immediate Release Please

From: Darol Dickinson
740 758 5050
May 14, 2009

FIRST NAIS LISTENING SESSION BY USDA/APHIS


The first listening session hour began with a power point as USDA leaders spoke on the many theories of NAIS.
The first listening session hour began with a power point as USDA leaders spoke on the many theories of NAIS.

Neil Hammerschmidt, believed to be the driving force behind NAIS, carefully articulated virtues and protective benefits for livestock producers.
Neil Hammerschmidt, believed to be the driving force behind NAIS, carefully articulated virtues and protective benefits for livestock producers.

Security guards were on duty at all times during the listening sessions.
Security guards were on duty at all times during the listening sessions.

The head table featured l to r, Neil Hammerschmidt, Jeri Dick, and John Weimer.
The head table featured l to r, Neil Hammerschmidt, Jeri Dick, and John Weimer.

Security guards were alerted to possible disturbances among farmers with planned dispatching.
Security guards were alerted to possible disturbances among farmers with planned dispatching.

USDA's Larry Miller led one of 3 break-out afternoon sessions.
USDA’s Larry Miller led one of 3 break-out afternoon sessions.

Extra security guards were on site in case of a major problem with livestock producers.
Extra security guards were on site in case of a major problem with livestock producers.

The furthest attendee was from Oregon. Speakers were provided 3 minutes to present their concerns.
The furthest attendee was from Oregon. Speakers were provided 3 minutes to present their concerns. 

Harrisburg, Pa—the first of a series of NAIS Listening Sessions was held today at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, Harrisburg, Pa. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stated, “I encourage individuals and organizations to voice their concerns, ideas and potential solutions about animal identification.” And—voice concerns they did!

The Pennsylvania location was a choice spot for this first national effort by USDA. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture has been mellowed by USDA with $2,127,411 of cooperative agreements directly for the purpose of NAIS property enrollments. The state’s generous grants were successful in energizing one of the highest percentages of farm enrollments of any state, not counting Massachusetts, who according to USDA records have a 227.1% enrollment.

Pennsylvania should have a very high percentage of favorable NAIS listening session enrollees, but it didn’t happen.

Those responding to the invitation to “voice their concerns” requested formal speaking time up to 2 weeks in advance and signed up a second time this morning on arrival. Each hopeful speaker got to speak up to 3 minutes if their name was drawn. A total of 187 people requested to speak and 36 actually were successful.

The beginning agenda allowed for senior USDA staff to cajole the perceived merits of NAIS for a scheduled one hour period. Staff members Jere Dick, Neil Hammerschmidt, and John Weimer defined the goals and theory of the troubled program.

Crowd control was a consideration. Due to the “touchy” nature of this USDA effort up to eight law enforcement officers were positioned on perimeters of the Expo meeting room. Farmers and ranchers are normally law abiding country folk, so fortunately no arrests or altercations took place. USDA staff member and blue group leader, Larry Miller, requested speakers have a “respectful attitude” at all times during the process.

As approved presenters rapidly verbalized their three minute allotment, USDA staff were true listeners with seldom if any comment. Their reaction was somber regardless of the charged efforts of livestock producers, with many far from polite, and seasoned with colorful barn yard vernacular in many cases.

A large Amish delegation were represented offering passionate pleadings against mandatory NAIS. Others of faith expressed major concerns. Two livestock producers from Ohio attended, one lady from Oregon and most from within a five hour drive of the eastern Pennsylvania area.

Of the successful speakers, 27 were clearly opposed to NAIS and 4 spoke in favor. Three indicated they were enrolled in NAIS without their knowledge and one indicated they had enrolled by mistake and wish they had not. One lady said her husband enrolled against her will and now he understands.

Afternoon attendees were divided into three break-out groups with the assignment from Secretary Tom Vilsack (not present) “discussions will be less about concerns and more about ideas and solutions to create a NAIS that we can all live with.” Each group was to study seven questions and focus to identify workable solutions. The seven questions centered around, cost, impact on small farms, privacy and confidentiality, liability, premises registration, animal ID, and animal tracing. These are considered the most concerning objections to NAIS.

The three break-out groups recorded the following concerns:

  • “There is no problem that NAIS will fix.”
  • “Drop the program.”
  • “Don’t use the word premises. I own property, not a premise.”
  • “Trace only international imported and export animals.”
  • “It is obvious enforcement is big with USDA by the looks of the police guards present here today. We are scared of your enforcements of NAIS mandatory on our farms.”
  • “Leave us alone! I am just here to say, NO!”
  • “We don’t trust USDA.”
  • “USDA has a tarnished reputation of raiding family farms without cause. NAIS is designed to make farm raids more prevalent.”
  • “If a government program isn’t worth doing, it is not worth doing right.”
  • Statement to the break-out moderator, “Thank you for listening. The longer you listen—NAIS won’t be mandatory.”
  • “NAIS is OK with me except for just one part—–MANDATORY.”
  • “You have not been honest with us about the enrollment numbers for NAIS.”
  • “USDA are amateur liars. I like to be lied to professionally.”
  • “NAIS has a trust issue. We don’t trust NAIS.”
  • An R-CALF USA eight point proposal for an alternative animal health program was recommended six times during the break-out session. (It was the only alternative solution offered.)
  • “The country is in serious economical trouble. It is not the time to add more costs to farm production.”
  • “Over 90% of farmers are opposed to NAIS. Will you still demand mandatory NAIS regardless of listening session results?
  • “The USDA animal health program currently is effective, NAIS is not needed.”
  • “Don’t call me a stakeholder. I am a land and horse owner. I am insulted by calling me a stakeholder. I am not holding the stakes for others.”
  • “USDA should be working on vaccines to prevent disease instead of NAIS trace back.”

USDA’s John Weimer was asked about the results of the letter writing effort to USDA with a designated comment period about NAIS several months ago. Where were the results published? He did not recall the comment effort and did not know what happened to the hundreds of communications USDA received.

In the blue break-out group all speaking participants (43 total) were clearly opposed to NAIS. USDA’s group leader Larry Miller continued to redirect the emphasis from NAIS concerns, over to solution issues to make mandatory NAIS a palatable program. One dairy farmer said, “We have answered your questions. You are not listening. There is no way NAIS will work. No part of it will work. All seven questions are not solvable. Any people who want to do NAIS should be able to volunteer, but mandatory NAIS will cause bloodshed in the streets. We will refuse to surrender.”

Future USDA listening meetings on NAIS will be held at Pasco, WA, Austin, TX, Birmingham, AL, Louisville, KY, Storrs, CT, and Loveland, CO. Comments for those who may not be able to attend should be sent to the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

NAIS: Expensive, Intrusive, Unworkable

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You can go directly to the www.nonais.org site just by clicking the link in our blogroll or, www.naisSTINKS.org for related articles and information.

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On April 15, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack held a roundtable discussion on the controversial National Animal Identification System (NAIS). He had invited 29 organizations, and I had the opportunity to represent the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC).

Secretary Vilsack opened by explaining that he was getting pressure from Congress, which is considering, apparently, cutting off the funding for NAIS unless the livestock industry works out a consensus to have better voluntary participation. I probably was not the only one in the room wondering: “And this is a bad thing?” He went on to mention that NAIS is becoming a requirement for international trade since all of our major competitors have NAIS type traceability systems.

I challenged this international market requirement, pointing out that last fall, when I delivered my calves, the buyer wanted source and age identification, which I gladly and easily provided. For the relatively small percentage of beef that we export, compared to our domestic market, a private system between buyers and sellers can work very well. Besides, I pointed out that country-of-origin labeling (COOL) is a marketing program and USDA had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table. So why is USDA so obsessed with NAIS?

If NAIS is not a marketing program, what is it? Some people seem to think that it has something to do with food safety, which is pure nonsense. In the mid 1990’s USDA replaced meat inspectors with the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system (HACCP). In doing so, they did us a great disservice – HACCP – USDA’s gift that keeps on giving salmonella. If people are serious about food safety, then rescind HACCP.

USDA does not have a good record on homeland security either, which is the third rational advanced for NAIS. It was USDA that let bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and tuberculosis (TB) into the country. Homeland security comes from adequate inspections and controls on our borders, not by burdening producers in the heartland with an expensive, intrusive, and cumbersome animal ID system.

Finally, is NAIS a disease control system? It probably could be in some specific circumstances, and the American Veterinary Medical Association certainly thinks it is the answer to all problems. Their statement was by far most in favor of NAIS.

Many of the other attendees were on both sides of the fence. NCBA seemed to say that they opposed NAIS as long as it was a government controlled program, leaving the impression that if NCBA were to run it, they would be happily in favor of a mandatory program. In contrast, R-CALF and U.S. Cattlemen, along with WORC, were clear about their opposition to a mandatory program. The Public Lands Council also opposed it on the grounds that Premise ID in the West, where we have livestock going every which way for summer pasture, NAIS compliance would be very complicated. The American Sheep Growers also opposed, pointing out that the scrapie tag system was working very well as it is.

I think that we were pretty effective in pointing out that this country had controlled many diseases without NAIS. After all, in Montana, we have had an animal ID system – brands– in place for 125 years. I pointedly reminded Secretary Vilsack that USDA has not demonstrated to the western ranchers that NAIS adds value to what we have been doing all along.

I further pointed out that USDA does not have much credibility out West. Given its record with COOL, meat inspection, BSE, TB, and lack of enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act, there was very little reason to trust USDA over this NAIS program.

I also reminded Secretary Vilsack that WORC had sent him a letter on April 8th with a long list of questions about NAIS and how it would function. A timely response to that letter would be very beneficial and would clarify a lot, not only for the affected livestock owners, but also for USDA because the department does not seem that to have really thought this through.

After listening to the other groups represented (poultry, pork, horses, milk, elk, bison, monopoly packers, producers of natural foods, stockyards, etc.), it is clear that there is a complex mixture of needs and concerns. Something like NAIS might make sense for some species, some industry segments, and some states that do not have brand laws. However, I remain convinced that a single, overarching national system is too expensive, too intrusive, and unworkable.


Gilles Stockton is a rancher from Grass Range, Mont., member of WORC’s Livestock Committee, and an international consultant on livestock production and marketing.

Kevin Dowling
Communications Director
WORC
220 S. 27th Street, Suite B
Billings, MT 59101
406-252-9672
http://www.worc.org

Group Brings Vilsack 8-Point Alternative to NAIS

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R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

 

Fighting for the U.S. Cattle Producer”

 

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                           Contact: Shae Dodson, Communications Coordinator

April 2, 2009                                                                                                                                             Phone:  406-672-8969; e-mail: sdodson@r-calfusa.com

 

 

Washington, D.C. – In formal correspondence sent to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today, R-CALF USA has recommended an 8-point alternative course to the controversial National Animal Identification System (NAIS), originally forced on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by the previous Administration.

 

“R-CALF USA urges Congress and USDA to immediately and completely abandon the flawed National Animal Identification System,” said R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, a Missouri veterinarian who also chairs the group’s animal health committee. “Instead, we recommend that Congress and USDA focus on targeted solutions to the legitimate livestock disease-related challenges faced by U.S. livestock industries, and take steps to meaningfully address legitimate food safety challenges, as are evidenced by recent and massive recalls of meat produced in U.S. slaughtering plants.”

 

Specifically, R-CALF USA has recommended the following eight-point alternative course:

 

1.       Prevent the importation of serious cattle diseases and pests from foreign sources by:

 

a.       Prohibiting the importation of livestock from any country that experiences outbreaks of serious zoonotic diseases, including pests, until scientific evidence demonstrates the diseases and/or pests have been eradicated or fully controlled and there is no known risk of further spread. This recommendation includes a request for an immediate ban on live cattle imports from Canada, which harbor a heightened risk for BSE.

 

b.       Requiring all imported livestock to be permanently and conspicuously branded with a mark of origin so identification can be made if a zoonotic disease or serious pest outbreak occurs in the exporting country subsequent to importation.

 

c.       Requiring all livestock imported into the United States to meet health and safety standards identical to those established for the United States, including adherence to U.S. prohibitions against certain feed ingredients, pesticide use on feedstuffs, and certain livestock pharmaceuticals.

 

d.       Requiring TB testing of all imported Mexican cattle and further requiring that all Mexican cattle remain quarantined in designated feedlots until slaughtered.

 

e.       Reversing USDA’s efforts to carve out regions within disease-affected foreign countries in order to facilitate imports from the affected country before the disease of concern is fully controlled or eradicated.

 

f.        Increasing the testing of all imported meat and bone meal to prohibit contaminated feed from entering the United States.

 

2.       Adopt the surveillance and identification components of the preexisting brucellosis program, including the metal eartag and tattoo that identifies the state-of-origin and the local veterinarian who applied the identification devices, and require breeding stock not otherwise identified through breed registries to be identified at the first point of ownership transfer.   

 

3.       State and Tribal animal health officials should be solely responsible for maintaining a statewide database for all metal tags applied within their respective jurisdictions and should continue to use the mailing address and/or the production unit identifier determined appropriate by the attending veterinarian to achieve traceback to the herd of origin should a disease event occur. Under no circumstances should the Federal government maintain a national registry of U.S. livestock or require the national registration of producers’ real property.

 

4.       The federal government should enter into agreements with State and Tribal animal health officials to pay for the States’ and Tribal governments’ costs of identifying breeding stock and maintaining the State and Tribal databases, as well as bolstering disease surveillance at livestock collection points such as livestock auction yards and slaughtering plants, including increased surveillance for BSE.

 

5.       The federal government should coordinate with the States and Tribes to establish electronic interface standards and to establish improved communication protocols so it can more effectively coordinate with the States and Tribes in the event of a disease outbreak.

 

6.       The federal government should coordinate with the States and Tribes to establish improved protocols for the retention and searchability of State and Tribal health certificates, brand inspection documents and other documents used to facilitate interstate movement of livestock. 

 

7.       Establish specific disease programs and focus increased resources toward the eradication of diseased wildlife in States where wildlife populations are known to harbor communicable diseases.

 

8.       To address the challenge of increased incidences of tainted meat products, Congress and USDA must substantially reform the current hands-off inspection system known as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). HACCP has fundamentally failed to ensure adequate sanitary practices at major slaughterhouse establishments.  As part of the HACCP reform, Congress should implement a requirement that meat sold at retail and at food service establishments be traceable back to the slaughterhouse that produced the meat from live animals, not just back to the processor that may have further processed tainted meat. This simple improvement would enable investigators to determine and address the actual source of meat contamination – primarily the unsanitary conditions that allow enteric-origin pathogens, such as E. coli O157:H7, to contaminate otherwise healthful meat.

 

“R-CALF USA appreciates the Secretary’s consideration of these recommendations and we look forward to working with the Secretary to enhance our nation’s animal disease preparedness in a manner that builds upon our past successes and does not infringe on the rights and privileges of U.S. livestock producers,” Thornsberry concluded.

 

Note: To view/download a copy of the letter to Vilsack, please visit the “Animal ID” link at www.r-calfusa.com.

 

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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketing issues. Members are located across 47 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. R-CALF USA directors and committee chairs are extremely active unpaid volunteers. R-CALF USA has dozens of affiliate organizations and various main-street businesses are associate members. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com  or, call 406-252-2516.   

 

Oppose NAIS~~~Lone cattleman develops Web site

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cow-nose


WilsonCountyNews.com 
March 31, 2009

As the controversy of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) continues to divide the livestock industry, one man is leading a campaign against the program by not only writing letters to congressmen, but also by starting up a Web site and contributing articles he has written.

Darol Dickinson, manager of the family-owned Dickinson Cattle Co. Inc., runs one of the 50 largest registered cattle ranches in the United States, numbering up to 1,600 registered cattle. The ranch is also involved in livestock marketing, retail meat sales, cattle feeding, and exporting to more than 20 countries.

As proposed, when and if implemented, the NAIS will allow state health agencies, in the event of a disease outbreak, to trace the movement of an animal back to the place of origin within 48 hours.

The issue of the accuracy and costs of recording each movement of an animal has been questioned and is a concern of many cattlemen, including Dickinson.

Dickinson brought up a January 2007 experience as one of the reasons why he is opposed to the NAIS program while being interviewed for this article.

He said in 2007, he was visited by a detective of the APHIS Investigative and Enforcement Services, not for a disease outbreak, but because of a clerical error. The error involved an interstate movement of one cow sold in January 2006, in which the veterinarian did not list one number on the certificate of veterinary inspection for interstate movement of animals.

Dickinson wrote about this incident in the article, “Chasing a Cow Over Five States,” detailing the happenings of what he experienced to warn others of the federal penalties the NAIS may lead to if the program should become mandatory.

At the present time, the NAIS is voluntary, except in four states where legislation has implemented a mandatory program to assist in the control of certain diseases.

“The fines and penalties for USDA are very nebulous. They have the ability to ‘stack’ their charges like no other enforcement agency. For instance, you transport a critter over state lines and the USDA licensed veterinarian fills out the health certificate incorrectly … you may be charged and fined for not knowing he did it wrong,” Dickinson said. “When they can’t make their case, they hold it in a file and threaten in a future date to bring it up again and attach it to another minor violation making a ‘stacked’ charge on one of their house rules.”

After Dickinson refused to plead no contest and pay $1,000 in fines, the case was dropped a year and a half later. Dickinson said the U.S. Department of Agriculture will keep the case on file and add it to the next violation “to create a really bad violation.” He said the vet was called before a hearing court in Oklahoma and was hammered verbally. He had failed to include one optional number on the certificate.

Dickinson also questions if the movement of animals can accurately be recorded by the databases, since the average steer in the United States now has eight owners during it’s lifetime, with the consumer being No. 8. With the animal identification program, six computer entries will be required, giving many opportunities for errors, and fines, he said.

Dickinson released an article in 2008 titled, “NAIS — the Fourth Component,” which he said is enforcement. Dickinson reviewed the fines that may be imposed if and when the animal identification program becomes mandatory, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 and more, citing U.S. Code, Title 7, found on the Web site of the Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute.

“One could be fined in county court $1,000 for a 70-mile-per-hour speed violation through a school zone, yet $50,000 for crossing a state line with one number incorrect on a USDA- issued livestock health certificate — for a perfectly healthy child’s pony!” Dickinson wrote.

Dickinson wrote the enforcement article since he believes that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is a “law-making branch of the federal government that could take a $10 parking violation and make it into a hanging offense. One fine from Investigative and Enforcement Services (IES division of APHIS) can devastate a family farm completely and it doesn’t have to involve any animal disease.”

“The APHIS/NAIS site changes like a baby diaper. It is a moving target and referred to as a ‘living’ document. They can add or remove at any time. It is not designed to easily understand. Undefined created words allow APHIS to interpret as they wish at a future date,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson’s article and others can be found on his Web site http://www.naisSTINKS.com, which contains articles, political cartoons, posters, and quotes in opposition to the NAIS. It is an “attempt to set the record straight from the twisted press releases USDA sends to media daily,” Dickinson said. He considers the site as “a self-defense site to preserve family livestock businesses.”

“I want to save the ranch I have worked to build for 42 years for my grandchildren and I don’t want it destroyed by the federales with unnecessary enforcements for a problem we don’t have,” he said.

At the present time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Web site states, “There are no Federal penalties or other ‘enforcement’ mechanisms associated with the NAIS.” Not unlike other government slight-of-speech promises, they want to change that to mandatory and the enforcements will be on the way. 

 

“I’m hopeful that we can bring people in and lay out on the table what are your concerns about a mandatory system,” said USDA Sec. Vilsack, a former Iowa governor. “Let’s work through them and see if we can get to a point where we can then fashion a mandatory system that would do the job and would work.”

 

According to Dickinson, “There’s only one problem with the Vilsack plan, that one pernicious word—MANDATORY.”

 

Reporting, editing; Doering, Gregorio, Headtel, Dickinson, Pat Kopecki and Wilson County News.

 

Colin Peterson: Wants NAIS mandatory…

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These remarks from Colin Peterson (D) MN regarding NAIS should scare the hell out of all of us.  These comments come after Peterson himself acknowledged in 2007 that the greatst threat to the food supply was from imported foods…….only 1% of which are ever checked.  I have to wonder where the logic or rational is in failing to address this admitted flaw in imports, and the attempts to establish NAIS which no one wants, no one needs, and which is another of those useless government programs meant not to help, but rather to implement needless regulations. 

The USDA must be particularly happy with Peterson’s position…..it elevates them to the status of  a national police force dedicated to ending family farms and ranches.  Marti

Please note the last paragraphs of this report on remarks Chairman Peterson gave to the National Farmers Union convention.
 

Following remarks to the National Farmers Union (NFU) annual convention Monday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) told reporters he plans to send a letter to over 400 ag groups this week requesting examples of farming practices that might qualify for payments under cap and trade legislation the panel plans to draft this spring. 

 

Farmers” do a lot of carbon sequestration already and there are probably other things they can be doing.”

 

Peterson said he believes legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions will move through Congress this year, so “we need to get out ahead of this and define how agriculture can be a beneficiary of this and not just something that (lawmakers) are doing to do something to.” 

 

He indicated the Agriculture Committee would probably begin a series of hearings on climate change by mid-April.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) plans to release a draft global warming bill this month and wants a bill through his committee by Memorial Day. 

 

Much of Peterson’s address to NFU members focused on his committee’s passage last month of H.R. 977, the Derivatives Markets Transparency and Accountability Act of 2009. 

 

“We have put a pretty tough bill together,” he said, explaining  that the urgency to push the bill intensified with the credit crisis where the collapse of some of the nation’s largest financial institutions were linked to their involvement in the trading of unregulated credit derivatives like swap contracts. 

 

“This is bad…and it’s worse than a lot of people, I think, recognize,” according to Peterson, referring to the failure of some of the biggest banks on Wall Street.  “My expectation is the (Obama administration) is probably going to ask for another $1-2 trillion to bail out these banks.”

 

As a condition for using more of taxpayers’ money to keep the troubled banks in business, Peterson said he told Vice President Biden, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Office and Management Budget director Peter Orzag last week that the Treasury Department should start breaking up the big banks.  “We should not have any institution in the United States that is too big to fail.”

 

Peterson went over the agriculture committee’s agenda for the rest of the year with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack immediately prior to taking the stage at the NFU event.  In addition to overseeing USDA’s implementation of the remaining provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill, the Chairman said he wants to: modernize the Department of Agriculture’s computer system; reform federal crop insurance to address “in my opinion, the inordinate amount of power that the agents have and the actual imbalance of premiums that agents are getting in different parts of the country;” and make farmer participation in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) mandatory. 

 

“This is not about us trying to put cost on you, this is about trying to protect” the livestock industry, said Peterson, a vocal critic of the Bush administration’s voluntary approach to NAIS. 

 

“We have spent more money on national animal ID than we would have to spend to do (a mandatory) program and to pay for the ear tags for every farmer.  We basically wasted the money,” he said.   

 

Exposing Wisconsin’s civil rights and criminal abuse against its farmers

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Article Linkhttp://www.opednews.com/articles/Exposing-Wisconsin-s-civil-by-Linn-Cohen-Cole-090207-584.html

 

I have written here before about Mr. Paul Griepentrogwww.opednews.com/articles/In-Wisconsin–The-bell-t-by-Linn-Cohen-Cole-090130-138.html and posted a letter www.opednews.com/articles/Pre-inauguration-reality–by-Linn-Cohen-Cole-090119-205.html and an article he wrote himself.www.opednews.com/articles/A-farmer-and-NAIS-by-Paul-Martin-Griepe-090128-243.html

 

Bush’s USDA promoted NAIS (Premises ID goes along with it) as voluntary though in most states, farmers are led to believe it is mandatory and many means have been used to force them on involuntarily.   Bush suddenly made it mandatory in the last few months before he left.

 

NAIS is one of the Bush regulations receiving an extended (60 day) comment period) by the USDA, though comments have no force.  Monsanto helped write it, Vilsack heads the USDA and is a Monsanto crony and Vilsack has been pushing it strongly.

 

Farm groups have sued the USDA to halt it entirely. www.opednews.com/articles/Legal-Defense-Fund-Files-S-by-Farm-to-Consumer-L-080715-264.html

 

All that said, the DATCP in Wisconsin has itself made NAIS mandatory, making the state a darling of the corporations pushing it. Though the Amish who have very clear and fundamental religious precepts forbidding them from such identification and numbering, Mr. Emmanuel Miller has already been charged by the state for not registering, and Mr. Griepentrog who been donating his time to help him, working “pro se” (doing the legal work himself though he is not a lawyer), is being threatened now.  

 

What is happening to Mr. Griepentrog reflects Wisconsin’s DATCP methods of ramming farmers as fast as possible and by any means – even terrorizing and illegal – onto Premises ID.  In mild terms, this could be called regulatory abuse.  In legal terms, there are issues here of violations of civil rights, of anti-trust issues, and of criminal conspiracy.

 

Below is my letter to Rodney J. Nilsestuen, the head of the DATCP in Wisconsin.  I encourage all of you who read it to write Mr. Nilsestuen yourselves.  His address and email are included.  The last thing the corporations or their corrupted government agencies want is national attention to the harm they are doing and your contact will let them know that we across the country now have Paul Griepentrog’s back, as well as that of the Amish and all the farmers in Wisconsin.  

 

You can write to Governor Nilsestuen at this address:

 

Rodney J. Nilsestuen
Secretary of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection
P.O. Box 8911
Madison, WI 53708-8911

rod.nilsestuen@wisconsin.gov 

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