County opposes 4-H program

Letter takes issue with proposed premise identification

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Leellen Koroulis, top left, is strongly opposed to the state implementing a National Animal Identification System for 4-H and FFA families with livstock. Although the program is designed to help the state track communicable diseases, Koroulis thinks the program is invasive and unnecessary. Koroulis is pictured at her Clark ranch with her family and animals, from top left, Amber Blazek, Ed the horse, Andie Baker and Catharine Koroulis. Below are Bradley Blazek and Chester Black the sheep.

— Leellen Koroulis wouldn't sign a bank loan without reading the fine print first.

Similarly, she says she wouldn't want her children and grandchildren, who participate in Routt County's 4-H programs, to be forced to participate in a premise identification program that would require all 4-H members to register their livestock with the state.

"Mandating 4-H and FFA families to register its properties as a premise is like telling someone they have to get a loan from a certain bank and then waiting to find out about the terms and conditions," she said Tuesday. "You have no idea what you're signing up for."

Koroulis is a vocal critic of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Identification System. State officials are determining whether to make the program a state requirement for 2008. It currently is a voluntary program.

Colorado State University Extension Agent Jay Whaley said the program was developed in 2002 in response to European outbreaks of livestock disease in the 1990s. The program is designed to track communicable diseases among livestock and to create a unified national system of tracking those diseases, he said.

However, the program concerns some Routt County 4-H and FFA families, who say it is invasive and unnecessary.

On Tuesday, the Routt County Board of Commissioners signed a letter to send to several local and state officials opposing the proposed premise identification program. The board made the decision after reviewing survey results from local families about the program and considering feedback from an August forum intended to educate the community about premise identification.

The commissioners' letter stresses that the county supports promoting healthy livestock, and it also states the county has a local database to track such diseases.

"What we do not support is a mandatory, statewide premises registration program that singles out 4-H and FFA livestock when neither the USDA nor the Colorado Department of Agriculture requires mandatory premises for all livestock producers," the letter reads.

Whaley said the program has three objectives, including registering where the animals live, using animal identification methods such as microchips, and tracing the animals if they are sold or moved across state lines.

That much governmental control over livestock is unacceptable to Koroulis.

"I believe you're giving up property rights and personal freedoms," she said.

Koroulis said she was thrilled the county took the position it did.

"It's a very large issue to wrap your mind around," she said. "It takes the time and desire to understand everything that's going on. I'm very thankful they did."

Whaley said local feedback about the premise identification program reveals that making it mandatory could affect 4-H enrollment.

"At this point, we don't think this is the best thing for Routt County," he said. "The bottom line is that we don't want to lose a single kid from 4-H."

The commissioners' letter is being sent to Dr. Jeff Goodwin, director of Colorado 4-H; Deb Young, Colorado State University Extension Service director; Kenton Ochsner, Colorado FFA adviser; Gov. Bill Ritter; John Stulp, commissioner of agriculture; state Sen. Jack Taylor; and state Rep. Al White.

- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

Henwhisperer 7 years, 3 months ago

Colorado State University Extension Agent Jay Whaley would be well served to read the USDA's documents relating to National Animal Identification System. Sadly, just like every other bureaucrat he prefers to take the "party line" without question. The truth is that NAIS is not about disease. It isn't. Read the documents. That is the way to know for certain what is going on with NAIS.

I applaud the Routt County Board of Commissioners for having the courage to stand up for what is right.

For more information and to read the documents themselves, http://nonais.org is one site to do that.

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esbee 7 years, 3 months ago

I wonder about the legalities of having children sign up property that they do not hold the title to... whether it belongs to their parents or to the neighbors, for once a certain property is signed up, the number given is forever, even if after a time, there are no animals on it....

In the NAIS document those who own livestock are called "stakeholder" and the land upon which the livestock presides is "premises". Contracts use certain words for a reason. The lectric law library states that the word premises signifies a formal part of a deed,and is made to designate an estate; to designate is to name or entitle. Therefore a premises has no protection under the United States constitution and has no exclusive rights of the owner tied to it. Stakeholder (the term the USDA is using to identify us) refers to a third party who temporarily holds money or property while its owner is still being determined.

There is more to this NAIS than we are being told by the USDA. USDA sponsored meetings across America urge livestock owners to sign up for NAIS. Questions are asked about the program, its costs and ramifications and the answer keeps coming back "We don't know, but sign up anyway!" Would you buy a car or anything like that???

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esbee 7 years, 3 months ago

NAIS is trying to be a one-size-fits-all program yet there is a huge difference between granny's back yard hens, a pot belly pig in suburbia, horses which are not in the food chain and the multi-billion dollar corporate ag and factory farms, which this program was ultimately made for. (oh by the way, the factory farms get one lot number per groups of animals, but granny has to microchip every animal she has and report their births, deaths and off-property movements.)

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Gisela 7 years, 3 months ago

Read the "Official" USDA documents for yourself No Miss Information, No Half Truths, Just Facts!! http://www.naisinfocentral.net

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haypoint 7 years, 3 months ago

Everyone expects the USDA to come running to straighten out the spread of any disease, anywhere. Most folks don't understand that it is the livestock sales, horse auctions, flea markets and county fairs that spread many diseases. Letting the Fair Board know where your chickens came from might be important information if another exhibitor had a disease sweep thru their flock following a week at your county fair. I want them to be alert and be able to quickly know who was there so we can get our animals tested. When you move, you "sign up" with the Post Office, letting them know where you live. To me that isn't much different than having an address that goes by actual location instead of street address. While the State and Federal Govewrnment doesn't demand that my horses have a current Coggins test record, every county fair and all Horse Shows demand it. Listing your premise isn't asking much. "You have no idea what you are signing up for" Of course you know, or should know. You are listing the location of your animals, where they came from and where they'll be after the fair is over. That's all, it isn't so hard to "wrap your mind around". The anti-National Animal Identification System is very well organized and vocal. The owners of 95% of the livestock in this country are all for this system. However the remaining people, hobby farmers and very small operations tend to see any regulation into their hobby as an intrusion. This general anti-government, anti- Big Farm, anti-modern farming methods manifests itself in this program. It is emotionally charged, filled with half truths and fabrications. The myth about Granny having to micro-chip her animals or that the word premises is somehow a trick to grab your property seems to just keep going. I think that if people would calm down and see how easy this is and see the good it can do for the American Farmer, both large and small, we could focus on some of the real problems in this country. Big operations where the animals are kept in a group from birth to death are only required to have one listing. Animals that don't leave the farm don't have to be listed. I think those things are reasonable. When a horse shows up at a race track stable and comes down with a rare or fatal disease, the place gets quarantined, all the other horses are tested and then a search is launched to find out where this came from, so those animale can be quarantined and tested. The quicker that is done, the fewer animals are exposed. If there are no records where that horse came from, we have to wait for other horses to die. The days where a farm animal or horse stays in one township or one county or even the same state are gone. We need a system to be able to trace back livestock and NAIS is easy to do.

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