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I read your article "Growing up on Castlemaine Farm" (May 3). It is a basic point that is being totally missed by the United States Department of Agriculture and large producers. The National Animal Identification System does not fit small producers. Even worse, NAIS is a total disaster for homesteaders. The minimum cost of doing NAIS is going to run a homesteader or small farmer more than $500 per year. NAIS is not needed at these levels. Not for disease and certainly not for export profits, the original reason for NAIS. Please help me get the word out of how badly NAIS will harm the very small livestock producers and people who raise their own meat. NAIS is unnecessary for these groups and should be kept 100 percent voluntary. That would make it workable. Then the producers who want the trace-back for the markets that demand it would be able to have it and the rest of us very small livestock producers would not be burdened.

I publish a blog (, which is my attempt to spread the word about NAIS. The biggest problem is that the USDA has not seen fit to notify small farmers, homesteaders or other consumers who will be affected by NAIS. Instead, they have just taken input from the big industry players.

Walter Jeffries

Sugar Mountain Farm
West Topsham, Vermont

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