Premises registration for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is beginning in some states. The NAIS is comprised of three major steps: premises registration, animal ID and animal tracking. In July, USDA selected the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) to serve as the prototype for premises registration for the NAIS. WLIC's system is available as the interim premises registration system for states that choose to use it and applies to all types of livestock.

Approximately 25 states have requested the standardized model, and those not yet online are awaiting training to operate the software in their own states.

Here's a sample of some states' premises registration programs:

Wisconsin

A new law signed by Gov. Jim Doyle in April requires any location where livestock congregate be registered with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). That includes commercial farms; animal markets; animal dealers and haulers premises; slaughter, rendering and dead animal plants; and livestock exhibitions. It also includes fairgrounds, hobby farms, backyard poultry flocks and veterinary clinics.

“Wisconsin's livestock premises registration lays the foundation for rapid response in the event of an animal disease outbreak,” says Rod Nilsestuen, DATCP secretary. “Our mandatory premises registration system will become effective in November 2005.”

Premises registration information will be kept in a confidential database accessible to animal health officials. Voluntary premises registration is already operating with more than 2,000 registered as of early October. The system was developed by the WLIC, a public-private partnership that includes the state ag department along with livestock organizations.

Go to: www.wiid.org

Illinois

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is implementing the NAIS. Registering premises or location doesn't obligate anyone to participate in the animal ID phase of the plan.

The IDOA has begun identifying every farm, feedlot, sales barn, production site, feedyard, livestock market and slaughter facility that handles food animals. It has established an online registration process, which takes about 15 minutes, to identify food animal facilities. After the form is submitted, the facility is issued a federal premises ID number.

IDOA's goal is to identify every food animal facility by Sept. 1, 2005, says Colleen O'Keefe, manager of IDOA's food safety and animal protection division. Registered facilities should include farm-raised wild and exotic animals, such as deer and emu, used for food.

Officials assure participants that registering a premises does not increase liability. Instead, they say, it actually provides a level of protection for agricultural investments. They also assure information will be kept private in a secure database where participants hold control of personal information by establishing a username and password.

Illinois is part of a five-state consortium developing and implementing the national animal ID system in the Great Lakes region. Other participating states are Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

Go to: www.agr.state.il.us/premiseid/

Nebraska

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has taken its first step in establishing complete individual animal ID through the Nebraska Animal Verification Enhancement (NAVE) system. NDA is encouraging those who handle livestock, poultry and other food animals to register the locations where their animals are kept.

The premises registration system can be accessed at www.animalid.us. System prompts will take registrants through a five-step process. Once complete, the information is electronically forwarded to NDA for verification.

There's also an option on the Web page to download the form for completion and mailing. Those wishing to register, but without Internet access, can call NDA at 800/572-2437 to receive the registration paperwork.

Minnesota

Minnesota is currently developing a system to collect the location of every livestock premises in Minnesota along with contact information for producers. The state has begun validating more than 50,000 premises currently in the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH) database. When the validation is completed, each premises will be assigned a national premises ID number and notified of the change.

The state also will begin an educational campaign to inform livestock producers about NAIS. Minnesota plans to enlist the help of many stakeholders including veterinarians, veterinary clinics, auction markets, laboratories, universities, other state agencies, associations, packing plants, etc.

As part of the initial project, MBAH will collect and transmit animal movement data from some Minnesota farms, auction markets and packing plants. A pilot project is being developed to test the use of RFID in swine and beef herds to track individual animals and groups.

Go to: www.bah.state.mn.us/index/nais/nais.htm.

For a list of all state agriculture departments, which will be responsible for handing out premises and individual animal ID numbers, go to page 40.