Last week, USDA Secretary Mike Johanns released an implementation plan that included timelines and benchmarks for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). It's newsworthy only in the respect there had been a lot of concern regarding what USDA was actually doing in the ID and traceback arena, and whether the agency had undergone a change of heart.
The implementation plan essentially only reaffirmed 2009 as the target date for 100% NAIS compliance, and that USDA hasn't changed its initial plan or views. The private initiatives that have been advancing now appear to be the clear leaders, and the next step is simply moving producers to participate. While other players may emerge, the U.S. Animal Identification Organization (USAIO) appears to be the clear-cut leader. -- Troy Marshall