An Ag & Markets meeting Thursday at Cobleskill’s Best Western will give farmers a chance to learn more about the state’s voluntary livestock identification program.
The meeting will run from 11am-2pm and will include a light lunch.
Other meetings, also from 11-2, will also be held Tuesday, October 23 at the Holiday Inn, Oneonta; and Thursday, October 25, at the Best Western, Little Falls.
According to Jessica Chittenden, Ag & Markets spokesman, the meetings will focus on the state’s Animal Health Information System—NYSAHIS—a voluntary identification program for livestock owners.
The national Animal Identification System—NAIS—will also discussed.
There was considerable confusion when the national program was announced, first as mandatory, then as voluntary, and many farmers opposed the expense that would have been involved.
Both programs are now voluntary, though there is still concern in the industry that that could change.
Ms. Crittenden said NYSAHIS is intended as a registry that would let the state notify livestock owners in the event of a disease outbreak—like the hoof and mouth disease the United Kingdom has been dealing with-- or a widespread feed contamination like the tainted pet food recalled last March.
Livestock owners who register will be asked to provide information on what types of animals they have as well as rough estimates of numbers.
Already, Ms. Crittenden said, about half of the state’s livestock owners have registered with NYSAHIS.
“It’s a chance to provide the information one-on0one with farmers,” she said. “We understand people have concerns—it’s confusing—and we hope to address them.
The meetings will provide an overview of both the state and national programs, an explanation of chances to the NAIS program, information on how a producer can become involved, the reasoning behind the programs, and a question and answer session.
For more information on the meetings or the programs, call Ag & Markets at 457-3502.