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Farmers, Ranchers and Consumers Fight USDA Animal ID Scheme

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page and our USDA Watch page.

A coalition of agriculture and consumer organizations from across the nation is challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) decision to push ahead with a complicated and expensive Animal ID program. The organizations sent a joint letter to the Congressional Office of Management and Budget (OMB) this week arguing that the rule should be sent back to the USDA because of the impacts it will have on family farmers, ranchers, related businesses, and other citizens who own animals.

The letter cites research from North Dakota State University which estimated the costs for cattle as more than five times greater per animal than the USDA's estimate, potentially creating costs of over a billion dollars per year.

The letter from the coalition also points out that USDA "arbitrarily assumed that only 30 million cattle" would be subject to the new regulatory requirements, even though this assumption was "contradicted by the publicly available data on the cattle industry."

By underestimating both the number of animals affected and the cost per animal, the USDA estimated the fiscal impacts at under $100 million, claiming that the rule is not "economically significant" and placing it on the fast-track to be finalized after review by the OMB, which serves as the fiscal review agency for all regulatory matters.