Help is now available for Alabama farmers in registering their farms with the USDA Premises Allocation System which identifies premises associated with animal agriculture.

Will assist

Perry Mobley, Alabama Farmers Federation Beef, Dairy and Hay and Forage Division director, has been trained by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries State Veterinarian office to assist the state's producers with the voluntary registration system.

“Premise registration is the first building block of the entire National Animal Identification System,” says Mobley. “This program definitely is a good first step in allow us to trace animals. While it could define where a disease occurred, by defining the location, it can help eliminate speculation about a potential outbreak. The important thing to remember is that premises registration is voluntary, it's easy, and it's free.”

Initially, producers could register only through the Department of Agriculture. Now, however, the registration system has been expanded to include the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, public health agencies and other farm organizations.

Producers who would like to register through the Alabama Farmers Federation should contact Mobley at 1-800-392-5705, extension 421, or they can download a copy of the registration form from the Alfa Farmers Web site and return it to Mobley.

Farmers also may request that a form be mailed to them by contacting Mobley.

Mobley says premises registration also will be useful following natural disasters. The system will allow animal health officials to more quickly service affected producers.

The premises registration program defines the physical, geographical location where livestock are kept, housed, fed, assembled, cared for or exhibited. That includes farmers, veterinarian offices, stockyards and feed lots.

When fully operational, the National Animal Identification system will be capable of tracing a sick animal or group of animals back to the herd or premises that is the most likely source of infection. This would be the case only with reportable diseases such as foot and mouth disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

The system also will be able to trace potentially exposed animals that were moved out from a herd or premises.

e-mail: phollis@prismb2b.com