You have more time to let USDA know what you think about its proposed animal disease traceability program that was rolled out this summer.

The public comment period for USDA’s proposed animal disease traceability rule has been extended for 30 days, according to an announcement in the Oct. 7 Federal Register. The agency will be accepting public comment until Dec. 9. Originally, the comment period was set to close on Nov. 9.

The extension came on the recommendation of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health. In addition, 49 organizations requested the extension.

“We have significant concerns about the substance of the rule, and we appreciate the USDA providing more time for public comment,” Judith McGeary, Executive Director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance and vice-chair of the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health said in a statement. “Our farmers are already struggling with the poor economy and terrible weather conditions in many parts of the country, and they needed additional time to be provide comment to the agency about the impact this proposed rule will have.”

You can submit comments at:!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0091-0001

Or you can mail comments to: Docket No. APHIS-20091-0091, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD  20737-1238.

According to USDA, under the proposed rule, unless specifically exempted, livestock moved interstate would have to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates. The proposed rule encourages the use of low-cost technology and specifies approved forms of official identification for each species, such as metal eartags for cattle. However, recognizing the importance and prevalence of other identifications in certain regions, shipping and receiving states or tribes are permitted to agree upon alternative forms of identification such as brands or tattoos.

More information.