Two bills filed this week in the Massachusetts legislature seek to block funding for state use in building the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Milford Daily News reports two identical bills filed separately in the House and Senate want to force the Massachusetts Department of Ag Resources to return any money it received from the USDA for help launching the national livestock ID and traceback program. Vermont's Agency of Agriculture stopped applying for USDA funding for the program last year.

USDA responded that the NAIS program is voluntary so producers can choose to participate or not.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, a bill seeks to prohibit the states ag commissioner from participating in establishing an animal ID system.

"This would effectively eliminate the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) from playing any role in the critical issue of animal health, and it would have serious marketing implications for livestock and poultry producers," said Wilmer Stoneman, associate director of governmental relations for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. As of Jan. 16, VDACS had registered 3,865 farms in the voluntary premises registration phase of the NAIS.
-- Joe Roybal