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Notice

National Animal Identification System; Close of Comment Period

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

This is a notice to inform the public that the comment period for the submission of stakeholder concerns related to the implementation of the National Animal Identification System will be closing on August 3, 2009. The comment period opened on May 1, 2009, with the publication of our first notice announcing public meetings on the subject. The last meeting was held on June 30, 2009, and it was our intention to continue to provide the public with the option of submitting written comments for at least 30 days following that final meeting.

DATES:

We will consider all comments that we receive on or before August 3, 2009.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on this docket in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.

Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Adam Grow, Director, Surveillance and Identification Programs, National Center for Animal Health Programs, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 200, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 734-3752.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

As part of its ongoing efforts to safeguard animal health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) initiated implementation of a National Animal Identification System (NAIS) in 2004. The NAIS is a cooperative State-Federal-industry program administered by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The purpose of the NAIS is to provide a streamlined information system that will help producers and animal health officials respond quickly and effectively to animal disease events in the United States.

The ultimate long-term goal of the NAIS is to provide State and Federal officials with the capability to identify all animals and premises that have had direct contact with a disease of concern within 48 hours after discovery. Meeting that goal requires a comprehensive animal-disease traceability infrastructure. An NAIS User Guide and a Business Plan, both available on our Web site at http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/​nais/​animal_​id/​index.shtml, provide detailed information about our plans for implementing the system.

Despite concerted efforts, APHIS has not been able to fully implement the NAIS. Many of the same issues that producers originally had with the system, such as the cost and impact on small farmers, privacy and confidentiality, and liability, continue to cause concern.

In order to provide individuals and organizations an opportunity to discuss their concerns regarding the NAIS and offer potential solutions, we have held 14 public meetings throughout the country and have been soliciting comments via our Web site.

Our goal is to gather feedback and input from a wide range of stakeholders to assist us in making an informed decision regarding both the future of the NAIS and the objectives and direction for animal identification and traceability. We would particularly welcome feedback on the following topics:

  • Cost. What are your concerns about the cost of the NAIS? What steps would you suggest APHIS use to address cost?
  • Impact on small farmers. What are your concerns about the effect of the NAIS on small farmers? What approaches would you suggest APHIS take to address the potential impact on small farmers?
  • Privacy and confidentiality. What are your concerns regarding how the NAIS will affect your operation's privacy and/or the confidentiality of your operation? What steps or tactics would you suggest APHIS use to address privacy and confidentiality issues?
  • Liability. What are your concerns about your operation's liability under the NAIS? What would you suggest APHIS consider to address liability concerns?
  • Premises registration. Do you have any suggestions on how to make premises registration, or the identification of farm or ranch locations, easier for stakeholders? How should we address your concerns regarding premises registration?Start Printed Page 36999
  • Animal identification. Do you have any suggestions on how to make animal identification practical and useful to stakeholders while simultaneously meeting the needs of animal health officials who must conduct disease tracebacks?
  • Animal tracing. Do you have any suggestions on how to make the animal tracing component practical, in particular the reporting of animal movements to other premises, while meeting the needs of animal health officials who must conduct disease tracebacks?

During the time that the public meetings were being held, we provided members of the public who were not able to attend a meeting with the option of submitting comments via the Regulations.gov Web site. The last meeting was held on June 30, 2009, and it was our intention to continue to provide the public with the option of submitting written comments for at least 30 days following that final meeting. As noted in the heading DATES at the beginning of this notice, we will consider all comments that we receive on or before August 3, 2009.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 21st day of July 2009.

Kevin Shea,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. E9-17797 Filed 7-24-09; 8:45 am]

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