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USDA ANNOUNCES AVAILABILITY OF DRAFT USER GUIDE AND OTHER DOCUMENTS RELATED TO THE NATIONAL ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM

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Andrea McNally (202) 690-4178
Jerry Redding (202) 720-4623

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the availability of three National Animal Identification System documents for review and public comment.

These documents, including a Draft User Guide, a Program Standards and Technical Reference document and a technical specifications document for the animal tracking databases, are available on USDA's NAIS Web site at www.usda.gov/nais and in USDA's reading room.

“NAIS is a true partnership among states, industry, and USDA, and by working together, we have met our goal of having twenty-five percent of the Nation's premises registered by the end of January. However, we continue to seek our partners' input on the design and implementation of NAIS,” said Bruce Knight, undersecretary of USDA's marketing and regulatory programs mission area. “The documents we are releasing today will further advance the dialogue on NAIS and guide our collaborative efforts as the program moves forward. We are committed to working together to build a system that works for everyone.”

The Draft User Guide includes the most up-to-date NAIS information. It provides details on participating in the program and discusses NAIS' three components, premises registration, animal identification, and animal tracing. USDA initially posted the document in November 2006 with a request for comments and to date, has received valuable feedback. Publishing the Draft User Guide in the Federal Register expands the opportunities for interested parties to comment on the document.

The Program Standards and Technical Reference document supplements the Guide with a separate update for the data standards USDA established for NAIS information. The Program Standards serve as a reference for entities involved in the administration of NAIS (e.g., States/Tribes, certain industry groups, manufacturers, and others). The use of common data standards among these entities will ensure uniformity in the system.

USDA is also working with interested State and industry partners as they develop the third NAIS component, animal tracing. Industry, through private systems, and States will manage the animal tracking databases, or ATDs, that maintain the movement records of animals. USDA is developing the Animal Trace Processing System (ATPS) to allow authorized State and Federal animal health officials to request information from the administrators of the ATDs in certain situations. Throughout the past year, USDA has worked with stakeholders in an interim/development phase to define the complete requirements private and State systems will need to fulfill in order to integrate with the ATPS.

The Technical Specifications document released today outlines these requirements. USDA will establish formal cooperative agreements with interested organizations and States whose systems meet the technical specifications. The implementation (production) phase for the integration of such systems with the ATPS is targeted for spring 2007.

Notice of this action was published in the Feb. 1 Federal Register. USDA encourages all interested parties to submit comments on any of the three documents or other aspects of NAIS. Comments are now being accepted through the NAIS Web site email address animalidcomments@aphis.usda.gov, or by mail to NAIS Program Staff, Veterinary Services, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 200, Riverdale, MD 20737.

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