In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, two Minnesota ag authorities are urging that the discussion be re-shaped with states, rather than USDA, taking the lead on animal identification.
"Rather than being drawn into the debates…take this opportunity to reshape the discussion with a focus on how we improve animal traceability,” urge Minnesota Ag Commissioner Gene Hugoson and Minnesota State Veterinarian Bill Hartman.
"Overreliance on a national database system may lead to problems…. A better blueprint would be to empower states to build modern, accurate and nationally compatible systems to effectively trace animal diseases,” they say.
A less centralized system with greater state involvement may be easier for producers to accept. "We believe enhancing state systems will garner more producer participation and improve animal disease response and traceability,” the officials write. "Additionally, data privacy concerns can be better addressed by state statutes.”