Maryland Launches National Identification System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Sue duPont, 410-841-5889 or Kate Wagner, 410-841-5888

Maryland Launches its part of the National Animal Identification System first phase to register all livestock premises in the State Open House with online sign-up at MDA on Sept. 29.

ANNAPOLIS, MD (September 15, 2005) B Livestock producers in Maryland are encouraged to register their properties as the first phase of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Animal Identification System (NAIS). NAIS is the national livestock identification program initiated to establish important safeguards against the spread of animal disease. An information package for Maryland farmers including a registration form is in the mail now and is available online at www.mda.state.md.us.

"I am encouraging all of my fellow Maryland livestock producers to participate in the first phase of the NAIS program and register their premises," said Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Lewis R. Riley. "By identifying all livestock premises in the state, we are laying the necessary groundwork to be able to trace an animal back to its birth herd within 48 hours of identifying a foreign animal disease or a domestic disease of concern."

NAIS is designed to protect animal health by making it possible to trace the movement of the individual animals back to their birth herds should there be an animal disease situation. The first phase of the program is to identify all livestock premises (farms, grazing areas, livestock markets, slaughter establishments, and veterinary clinics). The second phase, which will be implemented at a later date, will be to identify all livestock animals. At this time, NAIS is a voluntary program; however, by 2007 under the USDA strategic plan the program will be mandatory for both production site identification and animal identification.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has begun mailing out registration materials to the more than 8,200 livestock producers in the State. Producers receiving the materials can register by completing the forms and returning them to MDA headquarters in Annapolis or they can go to http://www.mda.state.md.us/animal_health/nais/ and register online. Once registration forms have been processed, livestock producers will receive an NAIS Premise ID number.

MDA will host an open house for livestock owners from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 29 at its headquarters office, 50 Harry S. Truman Pkwy., Annapolis. Staff members will be on hand to answer questions and help producers fill out the form or register online.

For more information about the NAIS program in Maryland and the premise identification process, contact Marilyn Bassford at 410-742- 6023 or nais@mda.state.md.us, or find more information online at http://www.mda.state.md.us/animal_health/nais/.

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