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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Doing a little Math

If you pay taxes in the US, you might be interested in knowing that The USDA {as mentioned in the previous post} has 3 contracts for 1.5 million radio frequency identification ear tags that are compliant with National Animal Identification System standards. The combined cost of the contracts is $1.7 million.

Previous reports have told us that the RFID tags will be reasonably priced. Nothing close to what Australia and the UK pay for theirs. So let's break it down a bit and see what our government is paying for these inexpensive chips. $0.89 a piece. So they are correct, that the tags are inexpensive. But what about this claim that they will be under $0.05 a piece?

I went looking. has 1,000 General Metal tags priced at $7.49 each.
But we can't stop there, we have to buy other things as well. The mouse sized reader will cost you the low low price of $499.00. Wait, there is more. An antenna is also a must have, priced at a comfortable $295.00. Who else here will need to get a loan?

Then there is an issue of privacy. Someone in our Government informed people that the tags are only readable from a few inches away. Good that's a relief. But wait, what's this? is reporting that EPCglobal’s press release puts considerable emphasis on allaying potential consumer privacy concerns. The press release states an EPC label “… can only transmit its unique number when it is less than about 10 feet from a reader that activates the label… The statement about 10-foot range is interesting for several reasons. First, because EPCglobal and RFID vendors rarely publish specific RFID range figures, in part because range varies significantly based on environmental and other factors. Second, when discussing range product manufacturers routinely claim 20- and 30-foot read ranges for their Gen2 products,

Walter Jefferies goes on to say It has been demonstrated before with the older technology that they were already able to read tags at much greater distances than advertised. With special antennas and signal processing it has been stated that the range may be closer to 1,000 feet. Read the entire post here

So this means that I could stand in the road and read your chips if I so felt like it. All that info that is placed in those chips, those things that are private, things that you and only the USDA and your vet should be reading, is accessible to anyone that wants to spend the money to do so. And this stops terrorism how?

Now let's take a little bit more money. Chickens are slaughter before reaching a year old, while lambs are butchered by 8 weeks, not to mention calves. These chips are not to be reused. Ok, so I do not have 1,000 animals, though it would be in my best interest to buy that many tags to get the bulk discount. I need to buy items to help tag the animals. RFIDusa doesn't seem to carry them, Premier 1 Supplies does have applicators for $19.00. I can not find how long lived these applicators are. RFIDusa informs me, via website, that RFID software development can be undertaken using traditional methods such as using a Software Developer Kit (SDK). SDK’s generally provide software tools and documentation to aid software development for a piece of hardware such as an RFID interrogator. Software can be purchased for $199.99. And then there is the special power supply that is needed. Radio Frequency Modules require special power supplies to assure proper performance and reliability of the RFID systems. The range of voltage levels and regulation, as well as maximum ripple voltage and ripple frequency under full load are specified within the applicable Texas Instruments documents. Your power supply needs can be purchased for $150.00

My loan office will just love me.

A deer has been found dead with Bovine TB within 15 miles of your farm or homestead. The NAIS enforcers come in and "depopulate" your livestock after 3 months of informing you that they will be doing this. You are not allowed to "depopulate" your livestock yourself, so you are forced to feed them, money out of pocket. These animals are considered dead, yet you have to pay to maintain them. Then after the "depopulation" you have to wait until they give you the all clear to repopulate. This can take months. How easily it can cause a small farm to go bankrupt. Your livestock could be healthy, but testing is not required before "depopulation" occurs. I can not give you figures for this situation. And this has happened, more then once under this "voluntary" program.

I am still waiting for some one to tell me how a "national Herd" will persuade terrorists not to attack our food supply. Still waiting to be told how a 48 hour track back system will eradicate diseases associated with Stockyards. Waiting to hear how GPS tracking of my livestock that never leaves my property will protect/help me. Can you answer these for me?


Whirled said...

To require this for animals not destined for the commercial food supply is just another excellent example of the incredibly poor judgment and lack of common sense put forth regularly by our current government. It is also such a sneaky way to keep agriculture out of the hands of individual farmers and profitably in the pockets of big agribusiness So much for the lip service to "small government".

On another note, the goat! A house is not a home without the cry of "Mom, the goats are out!" echoing through the halls!

Robbyn said...

Love this post...I linked to it from my most recent one about the NAIS issue and privacy...thank you for the continued heads-ups :)

Gina said...

GREAT post, Phelan. With these prices, I will never be able to raise animals beyond my family's own use (i.e. the meat would not be cost effective and could only be done to ensure my animals are getting a happy life and good food).

There are so many problems with this system, yet USDA continues to ignore the concerns of the taxpayers (and certainly all the tax loopholes does not make industry-pushers taxpayers). The head of Indiana Board of Animal health (a NAIS opponent) had a Powerpoint at a NAIS conference about how she and others are "trying to do the right thing" despite the concerns of EVERYONE ELSE (I'll find the link to her powerpoint) and she ends it with an excellent quote. The funny thing about this is that the quote works to sum up our (i.e. Nais protestors) feelings as well. She also starts her talk by showing hand written letters from IN citizens concerned about the privacy issue. It's funny really, but her choice of points to make in the powerpoint really supports the opposition (in this case those of us against it).

Here are the links if interested. This conference was held in 2006, I believe.

Link 1:

Link 2: Powerpoint,%20a%20State%20Perspective%20Greiner.pdf

Gina said...

Oh, I have more!

Lately I have been getting phone calls on my personal cell phone. I get my service through a company that claims to NOT sell our info. This company that is calling is "private matter" business based in India. I have no outstanding bad debts that I know of and the company will not tell me a.) how they obtained my number or b.) why they are calling unless I say, "This is Gina..." I refuse to do this. I do not use this number for anything beyond work (yep, guess who I work for) and family. I never use it for business means. How did this company get my personal cell number (and know to call the number out of three numbers associated with this account that I USE???) I did use this number to apply for my job and it had a breach in security a few months ago. Interesting that this company suddenly started calling around this same time...

Anyway, the point I am making is that if these tags are readable at 1000 feet who's to say that a $$$$ seeking company won't drive around reading this info. Who's to say that all of this info cannot be gathered from USDA websites and databases?

How do we continue the fight? Any suggestions because letters to chain-letter mailing representatives ***are not**** working!!!!

lisa said...

This is so damn bogus! I sure hope we can somehow get the government to stop before it's too late.

sexy said...






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