Posted by: Ben | March 5, 2009

NAIS hearing comment period ends March 16

USDA COMMENT PERIOD ENDS MARCH 16

In January, the USDA proposed a rule to require farms and other properties where animals are raised to be registered in the federal NAIS database for existing federal disease control programs.  The rule also sets the stage for future mandatory animal identification.  If you haven’t already submitted comments on this proposed rule, please be sure to do so before March 16!  An easy way to comment online is through the Organic Consumers Association’s automated system, at http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/642/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=26665

Please be sure to personalize the letter!  It can be as easy as a couple of sentences at the beginning stating who you are (for example, a farmer, consumer, property rights proponent) and why you care about NAIS.

CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON NAIS, MARCH 11

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry will hold a hearing on “animal identification programs” on Wednesday, March 11, 2009.  This is the first time in several years that any Congressional Committee will hear testimony about NAIS!  It is critical that the thousands of farmers and consumers who oppose NAIS make their voices heard in this process!

STEP 1: Before the Hearing:

At the end of the alert is a list of Subcommittee members.  If one of the Subcommittee members is from your state, call that member.  If your state does not have any representation on the Subcommittee, contact your own Representative and ask him or her to approach the Subcommittee to urge them to oppose NAIS.  If you’re not sure who represents you, go tohttp://www.congress.org

When you call, ask to speak to the staffer who handles agricultural issues, and talk with them about your concerns about NAIS.  Use a brief personal story to explain how NAIS would impact you.  Emphasize that you want them to ask hard questions of both the industry and USDA representatives, and to make sure that people representing those who oppose NAIS are also heard at the hearing.

STEP 2: At the Hearing:

If you are in the DC area, please try to come to the hearing!

WHEN: Wednesday, March 11th – 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: 1300 Longworth House Office Building  (go to http://www.aoc.gov/cc/cobs/lhob.cfm for maps and parking information)
WHAT: Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry — Public hearing to review animal identification systems.

The subcommittee will hear invited testimony only, so you won’t be able to speak at the hearing.  But it is still good for the subcommittee to know that a lot of people care enough about this issue to show up in person!

Immediately after the hearing, we encourage you to visit the Subcommittee members’ offices.  Be polite and concise during your visit.  Let them know that you were at the hearing because you are against NAIS.  Briefly bring up one or two points that you felt weren’t covered at the hearing that show the problems with NAIS.  Keep your visit short and thank them for their time.

STEP 3: After the Hearing:

You can submit written testimony to the subcommittee before the hearing, at the hearing, or up to 10 days after the hearing.  Send your testimony to the Hearing Clerk, Jamie Mitchell, atJamie.Mitchell@mail.house.gov Be sure to put “March 11 Hearing – Animal Identification Programs” in the subject line.  Keep your comments clear, polite, and concise.

We will send out some guidance after the hearing for key points to make in your testimony, based on what is said at the hearing.  If you are submitting comments before the hearing, you can draw ideas from the “Reasons to Stop NAIS” posted on the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund’s site at http://www.ftcldf.org/nais.html (scroll down past the news items and lawsuit information) or from the comments submitted by FARFA on the USDA’s proposed rule for NAIS, posted at:
http://farmandranchfreedom.org/content/files/090202_FARFA_Comments_USDA_rule.pdf

SUBCOMMITTEE MEMBERS:

Below are the Subcommittee members, their party and state, and phone numbers.  You can also send an email by using this format: firstname.lastname@mail.house.gov We strongly recommend that you make at least your initial contact with the ag staffer with a telephone conversation.

Mike Rogers (R-AL), (p):  202-225-3261, (f): 202-226-8485
Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), (p): 202-225-6131, (f): 202-225-0819
Jim Costa (D-CA), (p): 202-225-3341, (f):  202-225-9308
Joe Baca (D-CA), (p): 202-225-6161, (f): 202-225-8671
Betsy Markey (D-CO), (p): 202-225-4676, (f): 202-225-5870
David Scott (Chair), (D-GA), (p): 202-225-2939, (f): 202-225-4628
Leonard Boswell (D-IA), (p): 202-225-3806, (f): 202-225-5608
Steve King (R-IA), (p): 202-225-4426, (f): 202-225-3193
Walt Minnick (D-ID), (p): 202-225-6611, (f): 202-225-3029
Frank Kratovil, Jr. (D-MD), (p): 202-225-5311, (f): 202-225-0254
Adrian Smith (R-NE), (p): 202-225-6435, (f): 202-225-0207
Tim Holden (D-PA), (p): 202-225-5546, (f): 202-226-0996
David P. Roe (R-TN), (p): 202-225-6356, (f):  202-225-5714
K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), (p): 202-225-3605 or 866-882-3811, (f): 202-225-1783
Randy Neugebauer, Ranking Minority Member (R-TX), (p): 202-225-4005 or 888-763-1611, (f): 202-225-9615
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), (p): 202-225-5431, (f): 202-225-9681
Steve Kagen (D-WI), (p): 202-225-5665, (f): 202-225-5729

For more information about NAIS, go to www.FarmAndRanchFreedom.org

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