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USDA Contact:  Wayne Maloney (301) 734-7255
FFA Contact:      Colleen Kelly     (317) 802-4307

NATIONAL FFA ORGANIZATION PROMOTES VALUE OF ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National FFA Organization today announced a partnership for a broad-based education in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) for current FFA members and alumni.  The cooperative agreement signed at USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C., will help promote the value of premises registration across the country.
 
“The federal voluntary level of NAIS provides a modern, streamlined information system that helps producers and animal health officials respond quickly and effectively to animal health events in the United States,” said Bruce Knight, undersecretary for USDA’s marketing and regulatory programs.  “Rapid disease response limits the impact of an outbreak on a producer’s operation--or can stop disease spread before it reaches the animals.  Choosing to be a part of voluntary NAIS ensures a producer of needed information, when they need it most--to protect their animals and their investment.”

NAIS offers the benefit of premises registration, animal identification and tracing.  With timely, accurate information, state and federal officials can contain a disease outbreak or other animal health event more quickly and more effectively.

The premises registration component of NAIS ensures the availability of a nationwide communications network to assist livestock owners and animal health officials in the case of an adverse disease event.  More than 394,000 premises nationwide have been registered to date.
 
“The National FFA Organization stands ready to partner with USDA on this venture.  Together we can combine our talents and resources to educate the agriculture industry about NAIS and to help promote premises registration,” said Larry D. Case, FFA chief executive officer and national FFA advisor.

In February, USDA announced $6 million for cooperative agreements, subject to the availability of funding, to support nonprofit agricultural organizations to promote NAIS, and specifically, to increase participation in premises registration.  USDA has awarded funding to the National Pork Board and is reviewing additional applications.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of 495,046 student members preparing for leadership careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.  FFA has 7,242 local chapters in all 50 states,

Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.  Visit www.ffa.org for more information.

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