USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is extending the public comment period for the national animal identification system's draft strategic plan and program standards.

USDA is extending the comment period "so that all interested parties have time to prepare and submit information for our evaluation," says Ron DeHaven, APHIS administrator.

A comprehensive description of NAIS standards will be determined over time through field trials, user experience and the federal rulemaking process. However, the draft documents outline in more detail projected timelines and avenues to achieve system milestones.

For example, the draft documents propose requiring stakeholders to identify premises and animals according to NAIS standards by January 2008, with full recording of defined animal movements by January 2009.

Originally published in the Federal Register on May 6, the document's notice of
availability acknowledge some stakeholders' concerns and frames questions that USDA will be seeking answers to as NAIS moves forward. These questions pertain to
funding, data confidentiality and system flexibility, among other things.

Notice of the comment period's extension was published in the May 20, Federal
Register. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before
July 6, 2005 . Send an original and three copies of postal or commercial
delivery comments to Docket No. 05-015-1 , Regulatory Analysis and
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3C71, 4700 River Road , Unit 118,
Riverdale , MD 20737-1238 . If you wish to submit comments via the Internet, an easy link to the NAIS docket and comment form is available at http://www.usda.gov/nais.

Once USDA receives feedback, it will follow the normal rulemaking process before any aspects become mandatory. The public will have the opportunity to submit additional comments on any proposed regulations.

Comments are posted on the EDOCKET Web site and may also be viewed at USDA,
Room 1141 South Building , 14th St. and Independence Ave., SW , Washington
, D.C. , between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. , Monday through Friday, excluding
holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call
(202) 690-2817.

Source: USDA