U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) Secretary Ann Veneman’s announcement to start work on a national animal identification system drew support from National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) Vice President Joy Philippi.

“Last December, the Department said it would accelerate the process of instituting a national animal identification system and this action shows the Department recognized the need to move forward,” says Philippi, a Bruning, NE, pork producer.

“An identification (ID) system is needed to maintain and strengthen the health and biosecurity of the U.S. livestock herd by providing timely and effective tracing in case of a disease event,” she says.

Key in developing a national ID system is establishing a national animal premises ID system to protect the nation’s food and agriculture infrastructure, adds Philippi.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will lead the development of the national ID system.

“The $18.8 million obtained by USDA for implementing the animal ID system is a good start, however, NPPC is currently working with other livestock groups in Washington to seek $73 million from Congress in the fiscal year 2005 agriculture appropriations bill,” notes Philippi.