MISSOURI -- Missouri Farm Bureau is encouraging livestock producers across the state to participate in comment periods for two proposed federal programs affecting agriculture.
According to a Farm Bureau press release issued last week, the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and County of Origin Labeling (COOL) are two "very different" proposals with the Animal Inspection Service overseeing NAIS and the Agriculture Market Service responsible for COOL. Both agencies are within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
"NAIS is a work in progress," said Garrett Hawkins, national legislative affairs director for Missouri Farm Bureau. "The current draft user guide USDA is seeking comments on, replaces all previous documents published. On both NAIS and COOL proposals Farm Bureau has policy supporting voluntary, not mandatory, programs. These issues continue to be reviewed by our members as they develop grassroots policy for the organization," Hawkins said.
The purpose of NAIS is to provide a streamlined information system to help producers and animal health officials respond quickly to animal disease events in the U.S.
Oregon County producers wanting to make comments on the NAIS program through the NAIS Web site at www://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais.
According to Farm Bureau, COOL is not a food safety measure, but a marketing tool to provide a recognizable distinction between foreign and domestic products. The proposal requires retailers and their suppliers to maintain specific records to verify claims.
USDA reopened a 60-day comment period June 15 for the proposed rule for mandatory COOL for beef, lamb, pork and perishable agriculture commodities.
COOL is expected to be discussed during the farm bill debate as it was authorized in the 2002 farm bill.
Comments on COOl are due Aug. 20 and can be submitted on-line at www.regulations.gov.