LAS CRUCES – Livestock producers will have an opportunity to learn firsthand from cattle experts about the new National Animal Identification System during a series of regional meetings scheduled across New Mexico this summer.

“The clock is ticking,” said Ron Parker, emeritus head of New Mexico State University’s extension animal resources department. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that the target for a mandatory animal identification program is January 2009. At that time all animals entering marketing channels must be identified.”

The seminars are sponsored by New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service, the New Mexico Livestock Board and Research Management Systems USA Inc. Dates, locations and contact numbers are listed below.

• June 16 – Clovis; (505) 763-6505

• June 22 – Roy; (505) 673-2341

• June 29 – Silver City; (505) 388-1559

• July 5 – Reserve; (505) 533-6430

• July 6 – Socorro; (505) 835-0610

• July 7 – Grants; (505) 287-9266

• July 8 – Farmington; (505) 334-9496

• July 20 – Roswell; (505) 622-3210

• July 21 – Las Vegas; (505) 454-1497

“The goal of the animal identification system is to be able to track an animal’s movement once it leaves the premises where it originated,” said Parker, who currently works as an animal ID specialist with NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service and the New Mexico Livestock Board.

“In the event that an animal disease is detected, we want to be able to trace back and identify all animals and premises that the diseased animal has had contact with, and do that within a 48-hour period,” he said.

The first step is to register all premises that house animals during the production and marketing process. The target date for registration is January 2008.

“A premise could be a farm, ranch, grazing allotment, auction market, feedlot, plant, fairgrounds, even rodeo arena,” Parker said. Participants will be able to register their premises during the sessions, he said.

New Mexico is a member of the Tri-National Animal Health and Identification Consortium, a series of state and regional pilot projects funded to design and test systems for managing animal identification needs. Other members of the consortium include Arizona, Colorado, several Indian nations and the states of Chihuahua and Sonora in Mexico.

If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, please contact Parker at (505) 646-1709 or rparker@nmsu.edu before the event.