USDA will provide an additional $1.5 million for states' efforts in the National Animal Identification System. USDA Secretary Ann Veneman made the official announcement on Thursday.

"These funds have been set aside to support premises registration activities," said Veneman.  "A national animal identification system will help locate premises where animals are born, managed, marketed or exhibited.  States that applied for funding in July and were not selected at that time are now eligible for a portion of the $1.5 million if they meet specified requirements."  

Earlier this year, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service received a transfer of $18.8 million from USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation to begin implementing NAIS. In August, APHIS selected 29 projects from more than 40 applications for cooperative agreement funding, and divided $11.64 million amongst them. Now, $1.5 million more will be distributed to selected states. The focus of these cooperative agreements is on premises identification and registration. Some states and tribes will be evaluating animal identification technologies to determine how the collection of records can be automated.  The remainder of the $18.8 million funds will support other aspects of the national system, including building database architecture and carrying out outreach activities.  

Each state that applied but was not selected has been notified that it's now eligible for a minimum of $100,000 to carry out premises registration activities. Depending on the number of livestock operations within the state, the final amount could increase by up to $30,000.  Revised applications are due by Dec. 1, and must address any feedback received during the first-round of applications.

NAIS continues to be a USDA priority, said Veneman. President Bush's Fiscal Year 2005 budget requests $33 million to continue supporting the program's implementation. The project will continue to register premises and also phase in animal identification systems at a state or regional level.