Dear Mrs. Phelan:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Farm Bill. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
In late October the Senate Agriculture Committee passed S. 2302, the Food and Energy Security Act of 2007. Two weeks later the Senate began debate on the floor with a goal to work through amendments and hopefully pass a Farm Bill. Unfortunately, procedural maneuvers on the part of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have prevented members on both sides of the aisle from offering amendments. As a result, the Senate has yet to complete its work on the Farm Bill.
These delays prohibit the Senate from passing a Farm Bill in a timely fashion, which makes financial and planting decisions difficult for our nation's farmers and ranchers. Kansas wheat farmers already planted next year's crop without knowing what a new Farm Bill will look like. I am hopeful producers and their lenders will not face a similar situation this spring. The Senate needs to have an open and honest debate and quickly complete a Farm Bill. I plan to work with my colleagues to continue to protect the programs that work for Kansans and find a way to move forward.
Dear Mrs. Phelan
Thanks for your comment regarding a national animal identification system. I appreciate your taking the time to write on this important topic.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have taken steps to prevent the spread of animal borne diseases. Among the initiatives announced by Secretary of Agriculture is the establishment of a national animal identification system (NAIS) The system is constructed of three parts: registering the premises within the state, identification for groups of animals in a lot, and animal tracking. The purpose of this regulation is to track animals facing contagious disease back to their original herd. This allows the USDA to minimize the effect quickly and quarantine the animal. USDA officials have indicated that the system is currently voluntary, but will be mandatory in the future.
The USDA recognizes that it may not be feasible or cost effective for a producer to identify each animal. Therefore, current guidelines allow for group/lot identification for both large- and small- scale producers, whose animals move as a group through the production chain. In addition, the USDA does not recommend or endorse any particular method of identification, such as microchip, leg band or ear tag. Instead, the USDA will defer to producers to decide which method of identification is the best and most cost efficient for their animals.
I have long states that any national animal identification program should be based upon he recommendations of producers and not a top-down mandate issued by the Congress of some federal agency. The Current NAIS voluntary participation period is aimed at cooperatively developing the most efficient system possible. To this end, the USDA is soliciting comments and suggestions from producers. Additionally, the Senate Agriculture Committee has held several oversight hearings on animal identification issues.
Again, thank you for writing. You may rest assured, I will keep your comment handy as the committee continues oversight on this important issue.
If you would like more information on issues before the Senate, please visit my website at http://robert.senate.gov You may also sign up on my home page for a monthly electronic newsletter that will provide additional update on my work for Kansas.
With every best wish,
hhmmmm...Why did the latest letter not mention NAIS? Why are we passing blame onto others? My letter talked about NAIS, not the...wait what are we calling it now? The Food and Energy Security act of 2007. What!?! This is not a Farm bill, this is corporate and fear monger sponsorship. oops did I say that out loud?
Pat Roberts, Senator for Kansas and his aide that sent the letter, both of you need to take a time out in the corner and think about what you have done.