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USDA awards animal ID funds

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Tribal projects to receive $250,000

REDWOOD COUNTY, Minn. - Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman recently
announced Aug. 5 the selection of 29 state and tribal projects to receive a
total of $11.64 million to advance the national animal identification
initiative.

"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," said Veneman. "These projects
represent strong collaboration among state and tribal animal health
officials, academia, producers and producer organizations."

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will distribute
the funds through 29 cooperative agreements. States and tribes can use the
funds to register premises through a standardized system provided by APHIS
or through other systems that comply with NAIS data standards. Besides
registering premises and establishing necessary data transfer procedures,
many states and tribes will also conduct field trials or research in order
to test and fine-tune ID technologies and collect animal movement data.

State and tribal plans include collecting intra- and interstate animal
movement records electronically; integrating data collection technologies
at livestock marketing facilities and processing plants; tracking livestock
imported from other countries; and electronically collecting animal
movement data as livestock are loaded on and off trucks and trailers at
their ship-from and ship-to locations.

APHIS received more than 40 applications for animal identification
cooperative agreement funding. Selections were based on specific criteria,
including: Broad participation of stakeholders; inclusion of multiple
species for either premises or animal identification projects; involvement
of multiple states and/or tribes; clearly defined objectives, including
target dates for accomplishing certain activities; a feasible
communications plan; a well-defined budget; and the implementation of a
premises identification system that met national data standards.

Applications that reflected significant cost-sharing, including third-party
in-kind contributions, also received priority. Including the cost-sharing
of state and tribal governments and industry, the total investment in these
NAIS. cooperative agreements is more than $16 million.

Funding for the following projects has been reserved during fiscal year
2004:

The Fort Belknap Indian Community will receive $200,000 for their project
entitled "Native American Animal Identification and Tracking System and
Pilot Project." Participants also include Blackfeet Nation, Crow Tribe,
Eastern Shoshone Tribe, Fort Peck Assiniboine and Souix tribes, Intertribal
Bison Cooperative, Northern Arapahoe Tribe, Northern Cheyenne Tribe,
Rosebud Sioux Tribe, San Carlos Apache Tribe, Ute Tribe Ag Products and
Yomba Shoshone Tribe.

The Osage Nation Environmental and Natural Resources Department will
receive $50,000 for "Texas-Oklahoma-Osage Nation National Animal
Identification System (NAIS) Assessment and Initial Implementation
Project."

For those applicants that did not receive funding in this round, the
President's fiscal year 2005 budget calls for $33 million for the NAIS. A
portion of the funds would be used to fund additional cooperative
agreements. USDA will work with those states and tribes that are still
interested in implementing a premises identification system to help them
meet necessary criteria.

The animal identification initiative is a continuing USDA priority.
Currently, USDA is holding a series of listening sessions across the
country to discuss with producers the development, structure and
implementation of the NAIS.

The Department's ultimate goal for the NAIS is to gain the ability 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.
A functioning system will also be crucial as USDA works to complete disease
eradication programs in which states, industry, and the federal government
have invested many years and millions of dollars. USDA is committed to
developing a program that is tested both on the farm and in the livestock
markets to ensure it is both practical and effective. The Department's
technology-neutral position will allow industry to determine which animal
identification method or methods are the most practical and effective for
each species.

More information about the NAIS is available at www.aphis.usda.gov/.