New Guide for National Animal Identification System (NAIS) Released
With little fanfare, the new USDA guide for NAIS was released last week just as everyone headed out of Washington, DC for the Thanksgiving break.
Follow this link to the source article: "Knight vows NAIS will never become mandatory "
The front cover of the new NAIS guide contains this pronouncement: "A State-Federal-Industry Partnership/The NAIS is a Voluntary Program." And, if that is not enough reassurance for us that the program will not be mandatory, we have the sincere promise of USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Bruce Knight that NAIS is a "permanently voluntary" system. 
With everyone now having digested their still mostly NAIS unprotected turkey, the analysis of what the guide really says has begun.
Page 8 of the 66-page guide  contains some well crafted wording of merit:
Participation in NAIS is voluntary at the Federal level…. Prices at home are dictated by the overall demand for U.S. products. Therefore, to maintain and protect prices for domestic commodities, it is crucial for international markets to stay open…. USDA believes participation in the main components of NAIS can occur as a result of standard business practices … the success of the premises registration component would be achieved through the participation of producers in longstanding disease management programs and compliance with interstate movement regulations. (Emphasis added.)
Translation: The USDA is not making NAIS mandatory directly, other players will. Livestock producers will always have the freedom to opt out of the NAIS program … they just won’t be able to sell their product to anyone if they choose to do so…