Friday, March 13, 2009

You've Got to Be Kidding Me!

After my post earlier this week on the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) I decided it has time that I took heed of my own advice (along with the advice of the comments) and made sure I stayed up-to-date on the happenings surrounding NAIS and all of it's cronies. The first thing I did was to read through some of the posts I missed at and make sure I'm following it daily. It was my daily reading that lead me to this post and this link from the National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association. If you don't ever read another link I offer up on the blog you MUST read this one!

It would be great if I could file this information in the, "Crazy ... Unbelievable ... No Way This Could Happen in America File", but with the money of large corporations behind it I fear that it is an all too real danger. When you combine the information in this "White Paper" from the NICFA with the very real legislation in our government right now (HR 875 check out that link ... there is commentary on the bill and a link to the bill itself) you can see why there are so many small farmers outraged at what is going on ... and I hope there is just as many consumers that are outraged!

Here are a few tidbits form the NICFA "White Paper". Tell me why I shouldn't believe this and why I shouldn't be outraged ... please tell me (it would be so much easier if I didn't think this was a problem).
"During this economic downturn, when small farms are the fastest growing agriculture sector, these expanding sources of employment and local food production would fail. At the same time, taxpayer burden would increase to pay for government agencies to oversee and enforce NAIS."

"The monetary and time costs to implement NAIS are prohibitive for any but the largest industrial livestock producers. Small farms, that make up the vast majority of agricultural holdings, could not comply and sustain their operations."

"The USDA’s claim that “modern” technology will enable 48-hour traceback during disease outbreak is untenable. In reality, NAIS will not prevent disease because it does not address the cause of disease. Traceback can help track the movement of disease, but if a cataclysmic foreign animal disease outbreak occurred, NAIS will not improve on the current system for containment and quarantine."


Monica said...

Thanks for getting outraged about NAIS, Ethan. I'm a consumer of farm products and have been opposing NAIS for over a year. I've written about the matter here at

There are a number of other things that might be even worse, including a livestock tax from the EPA of over $100 per head of cattle and $20 per pig because they emit "greenhouse gases." I've written about those, too.

Rich said...

After reading through HR 875, I think this bill will impact everyone (big, small, medium, and huge) involved in agriculture in a negative way. Nobody will benefit from this bill except the Federal government.

If this bill passes, bureaucrats are going to be zealously prosecuting larger operations, while smaller farms will simply be harassed and regulated out of business. Washington will strategically pit each side against the other, small farmers will blame larger operations and large operations will blame small farms for non-existent food safety problems. Meanwhile, the corporations will cheer on the Federal regulators (hoping that they will be able to control everything once the smoke clears), but they don't seem to realize that the ultimate goal is government control of agriculture.

If corporations are supporting this legislation, they are even more clueless than I originally assumed. Do they think they are going to be exempted from confiscatory carbon taxes or idiotic regulations?

Monica said...

Perfect analysis, Rich.

Apparently food corporations do think this is good for them, though Rich -- since they invented this program and proposed it to the USDA decades ago. (Monsanto is preparing a similar tracking program for vegetables, an issue I hope to write about soon.)

It is truly absurd. You are right -- ultimately, this program doesn't benefit them, either. However, there are remarkable similarities here to universal healthcare. We see the insurance companies clamoring to support "single payer" insurance and insurance mandates, neither of which are good for their long-term business interests. Unfortunately, many businesses don't think long-term anymore. They've come to accept the regulators into their lives, and the revolving door of USDA, FDA, and people that work in these companies spins faster and faster. At this point, Big Ag is pretty much the same thing as Big Gov, I'm afraid to say.

Yeoman said...

Ah. . . so you've now discovered, to your horror, the rice bowl effect.

Regulations are the regulators rice bowl.

What's that mean?

Most people are well meaning. But almost nobody will concede that their job is purposeless.

Do we need NAIS? Of course not. But we don't need 3/4s of the regulations we have.

But as we have regulations, and as the jobs of the regulators require that the regulations be drafted and enforced, we get stuff like this.

That's their rice bowl.

And, in this tough economy, when a lot of people's rice bowls are empty, you can bet they'll find lots of reasons why you need these regulations, and why they won't hurt you. If you don't need them, well, then, they'll have to go find some other job.

Rich said...

You would think that the regulators would understand the reason why most parasites are self-limiting to a degree.

Too many parasites will eventually kill their host and then the parasites will also be forced to pay the ultimate price. If there is nobody left to regulate, then how will they "fill their rice bowls"?

Bar M U said...

The first I heard about the bill was when I read about it on your blog. I became interested and have been reading up on things for the past few days. I saw a contact number for my congressmen on and called his office. The ag aide was sure helpful and gave me some information that calmed me down. The aide said the original intent of animal identification has to do with biosecurity/terrorism and that in the meeting held Wednesday, concerns for small farmers were discussed. It's nice to have input (even if it's just one telephone call) and not feel like the issue is out of my hands.

Seth - said...

I don't know that gov'ts goal is to control ag, or anything else, I think that one, they are generally ill-informed and reactionary; two, big ag (corporate america) manipulates the h--l out or our reps; and three, there are few, if any, mechanisms in place to review the effectiveness of regulations.

Whatever the root cause of tripe like this (NAIS & HR 875), what do we do when it passes? Roll over?

We live in some crazy times!

Rich said...

To quote Bar M U - "...The aide said the original intent of animal identification has to do with biosecurity/terrorism and that in the meeting held Wednesday, concerns for small farmers were discussed..."

That sounds like typical political double-talk, designed to placate those pesky voters regardless of their position.

The 'original intent' is irrelevant, the actual results of the final passed bill is what is important.

Simply 'discussing the concerns of small farmers' is such a vague all-encompassing phrase that it could mean anything, if your congressman had actually listened to 'concerned small farmers' he should have outlined the steps planned to address those concerns within the framework of the bill.

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