About Premises Registration
The possibility of an animal disease outbreak is one reason behind the Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s endorsement of the USDA’s voluntary Premises Registration system. Premises Registration is a process by which producers/owners of livestock may register their farm’s physical location and livestock species with the state. The Agency of Agriculture will use this information in the event of a disease outbreak as a means of containing the disease efficiently so as to minimize the negative impact on animals and producers in the state.
Vermont State Veterinarian, Kristin Haas, states that Premises Registration will aid in the effective management of any significant livestock disease outbreak within the state. “For example, if Foot and Mouth disease, or any other with similar potential for livestock mortality and economic loss, is found on a farm in Vermont, we need to know where that farm is and what other farms are in the area so we can monitor and contain the disease quickly.” The contact information contained within the Premises Registration database will also allow for timely notification of owners/producers in the event of a disease outbreak or in the aftermath of a natural disaster so that much needed aid can be made available as quickly as possible. “In short, if we don’t know where the animals and those who own them are located, our response time in providing needed assistance will be delayed” adds Haas.
Roger Allbee, Secretary of Agriculture, supports the Agency’s efforts to promote Vermont’s voluntary Premises Registration Program and states, “We are seeing today more concern in the areas of food safety and animal health, and the voluntary Premises Registration system that the state has is intended to help aggressively address these issues.”
Despite a low participation rate in the voluntary program (approximately 7% in Vermont) by individual owners/producers, some Vermont livestock industries, such as those focusing on sheep and cattle, have recognized the benefits of this Program and have encouraged the Agency to continue to work toward a greater level of participation from their individual producers.
If you are interested in learning more about this program or wish to register your premises, please contact our Animal Health office at (802)828-2421. Also, please feel free to review the following links for a broad overview of this voluntary program.
Some important facts about Premises Registration:
Part of the data voluntarily submitted during the livestock premises registration process will be sent to a federal premises registration repository. The United States Department of Agriculture has assured us that they intend to keep this information confidential. Regrettably, there is no statutory language passed yet that will ensure the data withstand a court challenge from denying public release of information.
-The program is free to all farmers, regardless of size.
-Livestock owners do not need to notify the government when their animals leave the farm (except when federal rules governing regular interstate shipment apply).
-The state cannot depend on lists of producers that are kept by livestock organizations for an acceptable response to a disease outbreak or other emergent situation. While it is true that many Vermont livestock operations are identified because of the product they produce or sell, these systems lack uniformity. There will not be time in an animal health emergency to compare notes and hope all industry lists are complete.
-The database will be kept confidential and used only when there is an urgent need for the information, such as an outbreak of an animal disease.