Due to producer and consumer opposition to the National Animal Identification System, USDA will be holding a listening session on NAIS at the Truman Hotel and Conference Center in Jefferson City, Mo., Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

USDA has has delayed NAIS, originally to have been fully implemented in January 2008 with enforcement in January 2009. The USDA is now asking for public input on how to overcome objections to the program.

Hundreds of farmers, ranchers and consumers who are opposed to NAIS will attend this listening session and participate in a protest that will run concurrently with the listening session from 8 a.m. until noon.

“We think the very fact that the USDA is holding these meetings represents a victory for those of us who oppose NAIS,” said Rhonda Perry, livestock and grain farmer from Howard County and program director of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center. “It shows that the USDA is recognizing that there is significant and growing grassroots opposition to NAIS. Already, five states, including Missouri, have passed anti-NAIS legislation.”

Missouri was not included in the original list of listening sessions to be held. Missourians responded and let the USDA know that Missouri was a key state in which to hold a listening session.

Missouri will be the eighth state to hold a USDA/NAIS listening session to be followed by five more states. The listening sessions have been held in Pennsylvania, Washington, Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, Connecticut and Colorado, and are slated to be held in South Dakota, New Mexico, California, North Carolina and Florida.