Cattle Identification Program

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The US Agriculture Department is considering initiating a national animal ID program. If implemented the program could place a great financial burden on local farmers.

New animal identification system is a source of a lot of debate right now.

Some say it will allow meat to be better tracked and therefore safer, but cattle producers are worried the costs associated with the program will be more than they can handle.

The USDA is trying to create a system to track cattle in the United States. A meeting was held at the Dothan Livestock Company Tuesday night to discuss this hot topic among farmers.

SE Field Coordinator R-Calf USA, John West said "It's important for producers because fiercely independent and goal is to unite cattlemen to unite on these common goals."

Opponents of the system are trying to gather a force of farmers with common views together to make their opinions heard. The issue has divided support among consumers and farmers.

"Mixed emotions in reference to the animal ID. No one knows what the program is," said Ed Neel, owner of Dothan Livestock Co.

Cattle producers argue that this system will infringe on their rights...making them track their cattle every time they leave their land. Financially opponents of the system argue that farmers will most likely lose money if the program is passed.

"This is added production cost with no added economic impact and while we understand disease animal health concerns we need more information before we impose this cost on an industry," said Bill Bullard, CEO R-Calf USA.

The USDA has not officially passed this animal identification system into law. Cattle experts say there are a lot of details that need to be addressed before anything becomes mandatory, and meetings are designed to make sure cattle producers have all the information they need to decide on which side they stand.

R-CALF USA, in addition to trying to inform farmers about the specifics of the animal i-d system, is also working to get USA labels put on beef that originates in America.