From the U.S. Cattlemen's Association:
USCA Hails Conference Committee Report Slashing NAIS Funding
USCA (October 6, 2009) - The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) said
today that the Agricultural Appropriations conference committee report
cutting funding by more than 60 percent for the National Animal
Identification System (NAIS) is welcome news. The conference agreement
allocates just $5.3 million for NAIS, a reduction of nearly two-thirds
from the $14.6 million requested by the U.S. Department of
"This dramatic reduction in funding signals that Congress is listening
to producer concerns with, and objections to, NAIS," commented Jon
Wooster, USCA President. "The conference report notes that after an
investment of $142 million since FY2004, the agency has only
registered about 37 percent of all premises, far below the program’s
goals. Conferees wisely recognized that investing heavily in the
program is irresponsible, given the lack of producer support."
A bipartisan amendment, introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this
year by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), proposed
cutting in half the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s request for $14.6
million for FY2010. The amendment passed unanimously out of the Senate
Agriculture Appropriations Committee and subsequently passed in the
full Senate by a vote of 80:17. In comments following the vote,
Senator Enzi said the funds left intact for the program provided
reasonable funding for an animal identification program based on
"We are extremely pleased and encouraged with the conference report,"
continued Wooster. "USCA has contended all along that NAIS should be
voluntary in nature and we’ve successfully expended countless
resources to prevent the program from being implemented as mandatory.
We extend our gratitude to the conferees and to Senators Tester and
Enzi who led the charge to de-fund such a highly unpopular program."
"We would like to thank the many cattlemen and women who traveled to
Washington, DC with USCA to help Congress understand that while the
vast majority of the industry appreciates the use of current,
established programs for animal disease trace back they do not support
a mandatory animal identification program."
Established in March 2007, USCA is committed to concentrating its
efforts in Washington, DC to enhance and expand the cattle industry’s
voice on Capitol Hill. USCA has a full-time presence in Washington,
giving cattle producers across the country a strong influence on
policy development. For more information go to www.uscattlemen.org.