09 July 2009 - Your Forum - Voice Your Opinion

Let me begin this week by sharing an e-mail address and asking you to write it down. The e-mail address is: orion@agbizweek.com.

Now the reason for asking you to copy that e-mail address. We are in the middle of summer, at the half-way mark for 2009. This is the year, you may recall, that we were supposed to have a National Animal Identification System in place, and really, I don't think we are any closer to a national I.D. program today than we were five years ago, when it was introduced. Because of the controversy and the emotion involved in this issue, we don't seem to be getting any closer to a resolution.

It is one of the most controversial issues I can remember in the last couple of decades, and I know from experience, because many of you have used some very strong language in letters and e-mails to me, condemning my support of a National Animal I.D. program. Despite that, I continue to support the program and I'll tell you again why I think it is necessary.

I think more and more countries around the world, competing with U.S. livestock producers in the world meat market will be putting in place, if they haven't already, a national animal identification program because buyers will demand it. That will put us at a competitive disadvantage. In light of the increase in meat and food recalls in this country, I think it is important to U.S. consumers to give them more assurance on food safety. But ultimately I think it is most important to livestock producers because it will enable health officials to quickly track, to the source, any outbreak of a disease that would impact the entire industry. Until we can find the source and isolate it, the entire industry is hurt financially as we saw last year in the U.S. tomato industry when it took three weeks to find the source and all growers, innocent or not, lost millions of dollars. For these reasons I continue to support NAIS.

But now, I would like to know why you support it or why you don't support it. Back to that e-mail address; would you send me ONE reason why you like National Animal I.D. or ONE reason why you don't like it. Don't send me a book or two or three pages and please omit the nasty words because this is a family newspaper. I'd like to hear just one reason for or one reason against, from as many of you as possible and I will use some of your comments in an upcoming Samuelson Sez. That's Orion@agbizweek.com. Let me hear from you!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez