This is a question I have been asking for quite a few years. In truth, they have no authority under the Constitution.
Billings, Mont. – R-CALF USA got word today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has received a formal letter from the group that requests the agency to promptly answer several questions regarding R-CALF USA’s position that USDA has no authority to impose premises registration – utilizing the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) – onto livestock producers who participate in federal disease management programs.
“The NAIS, as proposed by your agency, is shrouded with inconsistency and uncertainty,” wrote R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, who also chairs the group’s animal health committee.
“For example, your agency continues to publicly claim NAIS is completely a voluntary program, though it has simultaneously issued an official memorandum to state animal health officials directing them to register as a premises the real property of certain livestock producers – regardless of whether these livestock producers consent to the imposition of such registration,” the letter continues.
The letter requests USDA to state what authority it has to register real property as a premises and implement NAIS and also requests a complete disclosure by USDA regarding the potential ramifications of NAIS participation.
Some of the questions include:
* What is the specific authority that grants USDA the power to register personal real estate as a premises without prior consent, power of attorney in fact, or by persons lacking legal age or capacity?
* Does registration of real property as a premises become a permanent assignment to the affected property?
* Does registration of real property as a premises constitute a taking as defined in the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
* Will those affected by premises registration of real property be compensated for any taking, in what amount, by what standard of evaluation, and frequency?
* Does an agency memorandum, on premises registration of real property, stand as an act of law?
* Where, by an Act of Congress as legislated within the bounds of Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, has USDA been given authority to register real property as a premises or otherwise implement the National Animal Identification System?
* Where in the U.S. Constitution is USDA given authority to register real property as a premises or otherwise implement the National Animal Identification System?
* Will future land title and use of private real estate be impacted by implementation of the National Animal Identification System, resulting in further Federal regulation or authority?
“If your agency intends to proceed with its implementation of the NAIS proposal, including premises registration of real property, the cattle-producing members of R-CALF USA, who are directly affected by NAIS, deserve to know the specific authority underpinning your agency’s actions, as well as the potential ramifications from participating in the NAIS,” Thornsberry concluded in the letter.
R-CALF USA Animal Identification Committee Chair Kenny Fox praised committee members for the time and research they put into drafting this letter and said he hopes USDA will finally admit the agency has absolutely no authority to implement NAIS.
“USDA says publicly NAIS is a voluntary system, but their actions prove otherwise,” said Fox. “There’s a reason the agency chose to use the word ‘premises’ instead of ‘property,’ especially when you consider that producers’ information already is available to USDA. If NAIS becomes the law of the land, you can bet that registering your premises is the first step to ceding your authority over to the government when it comes to your business operations.”
Note: To view/download this letter in its entirety, please visit the “Animal ID” link at www.r-calfusa.com.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketing issues. Members are located across 47 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. R-CALF USA directors and committee chairs are extremely active unpaid volunteers. R-CALF USA has dozens of affiliate organizations and various main-street businesses are associate members. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com, or, call 406-252-2516.