I had a great time in Austin, Texas, covering one of the USDA’s NAIS listening sessions. This was the third of several meetings where anyone with an opinion on the National Animal Identification System could voice their concerns and suggestions. It was a diverse group, from the small farmer who direct markets his beef to the medium-sized hog farmer to the large-scale rancher and feedlot operator. Everyone had a chance to speak and their comments will be transcribed by the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as part of the official record. Once all the NAIS listening sessions are held, and USDA tells me more are being planned, all comments will be combined and given to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack for his consideration.
I had the good fortune to be able to stay with relatives while in Austin and get an up-close look at this awesome capital city. My cousins, Erick and Trevor Allen, who grew up in Austin, showed me the sights. I also got to see Trevor’s nine-year-old daughter Katie play two volleyball games and Erick’s son Foster play the trumpet in the middle school band concert. Let me tell you - Trevor, Amy, Langley, Katie, Erick, Marshall, Foster, and Riley - these are good people!