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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: NAIS
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 14:49:20 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On 31 Jan 2006 07:17:34 -0800, "CanopyCo" <> wrote:

>rot13 Kevin Miller wrote:

>> It's not the cost of the actual chipping that's going to get most small
>> farmers and those that keep livestock as pets or for their own use, but
>> the cost of reading, registering and reporting.  Putting a chip in is a
>> relatively cheap one-time cost for most livestock.  The problem is that
>> anyone who keeps, processes or handles livestock will need to register
>> with the state, purchase reader(s) to read chips, read the chips
>> whenever any animals comes or goes, and report all of this back to the
>> state.  Readers are not cheap, and the additional labor will impact the
>> small farmers.
>Why do you need a reader?
>You can't tell one cow from another already from your present marking
>And the reporting part will not cost a small farmer anything but time.
>And that will only happen when he buys, butchers, or sells his stock.

This is an example of the problem at hand.  There is so much
hysterical arm-waving going on that it is difficult to tell what the
real issues are.  Pretty much everything that has been said about
chipping is wrong or exaggerated.

I have a little experience in this area.  I have some friends who
operate a modest size dairy farm, about 250 head.  About 3 years ago
they installed what was then the state of the art, hands-off milk barn
and feeding system.  Chipping is an integral part of the system.  I've
helped them with some technical problems so I'm aware of at least the
overall system function.

This system requires no human intervention for milking.  The cows are
chipped when they come on the farm.  The chips are cheap, under a buck
apiece, and require only a second to insert, like giving an injection.

The cows are herded into a chute to the milk house where the tags are
read.  They mount a turntable where milking apparatus attaches.  The
tags are read again when they leave the house.  They are read again
when the cows eat from the automated feeders.

The software keeps track of the daily yield from each cow, computes
the cost, predicts when the cow's production will cease to be
profitable and schedules the acquisition of replacements and a whole
lot of other stuff that I can't appreciate as a non-farmer.

It has reduced both the cost and time involved many times over what
the system cost.  He's cut his payroll by more than half and doesn't
work nearly so hard.

I haven't chatted with them about the system in awhile so I don't know
where they stand vis a vie this tracking proposal.  I do know that
from a technical standpoint, all that will be required to fulfill even
the worst regulations will be a software update.

Tiny farmers can chip or have chipped their few head of cattle for
tracking after they leave the farmer's hands and otherwise ignore the
chip if they desire.  I don't know why he'd do that though, since
chipping is easier than ear tagging.  Even the most minimal use of the
chips, say, a handheld computer containing a reader, to say, record
health statistics, weight, etc would greatly reduce manual

As far as cost, I think that pet chipping can set the scale of things.
My mom had her rather expensive breed of dog chipped in case it is
ever stolen.  The process wasn't much different than administering a
rabies shot, the main difference being that the needle is larger.  The
vet charged her $10.  That included his services, the cost of the chip
and the fee to the database company that maintains the registry.  I
can't imagine livestock chipping costing even a fraction of that.

>> And then for poultry even the cost of chipping will be prohibitive.
>> Also, what will be done to guarantee that the chips don't enter the food
>> chain, particularly for large production line operations.
>I believe that poultry will be tracked by leg tags and large groups can
>be tracked by the chicken house.

I can't imagine tracking by any means other than house for poultry
meat farming.  The very idea of trying to band several thousand
day-old chicks boggles the mind.

I'm a bit familiar with commercial poultry farming, having invested in
a small limited partnership that owns a farm.  Not much need in any
finer granularity than the house.  Any disease that gets in a house
runs through the flock practically instantly.  The concern is to keep
it from spreading from one house to the next and not from one chicken
to the next in a house.

I don't know where I stand on this proposal simply because there have
been no actual facts presented.  However, when I see exaggerations and
outright lies about elements with which I'm familiar such as the RFID
tags, I tend to think that the whole issue is similarly exaggerated.

Memo to JC: Your raving lunacy is driving off your potential
supporters.  I have you classified with the tin foil hat and black
helicopters types.  Your credibility is currently zero.  Why don't you
get back on your meds, settle down and post some actual facts without
exaggeration? You might actually gain some support.


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