Please take an opportunity to contact Governor Quinn's office - to ask him to allow Livestock owners to participate in the "International Homeland Security Training" in June (Wheaton, Illinois). Click here.
It was with great interest I read in FarmWeek (Page 9 Monday, February 9, 2008 edition) "Nine livestock emergency meetings planned" column.
I would like to point out that after these Meetings have concluded, Illinois has been selected to "Host International Homeland Security Training" by the USDA. Click here.
However, don't bother to call Mr. Jennings (Director IDOA) or Mr. Kunkle (Illinois State Premises ID Coordinator) - producers, livestock owners, independent groups, etc. Are not to be "allowed" to attend this "Tabletop Exercise". Even though it will address concerns with a "foreign animal disease outbreak", Premises Registration (NAIS), and the "depopulation/tracking" of infected animals.
Just ignore the fact that 13 States, 4 Nations and "Official" people can go. Don't bother to contact your legislator as we did (Senator Luechtefeld) and ask for assistance in knowing what will happen at the meeting.
Senator Luechtefeld did an outstanding job requesting several times on our behalf 4 slots for Species Specific individuals to attend and understand what plans will be developed from these nine meetings. We even offered to "bring our own folding chairs and Box-Lunches if the USDA/IDOA finds itself pressed for funds in this economically challenged era."
It has been 7 weeks and now final notice has been received from Mr. Jennings: The Illinois Department of Agriculture does not want the individuals who will be directly affected by (not to mention paying for with tax dollars) this "Exercise" to attend.
Just sign up for the 9 meetings and let the "Officials" take care of all the details. No need to worry about transparency or information being relayed to the individuals who will be directly impacted.
If any Farm Bureau member is as disgusted with the "business as usual" behind closed doors running of the Illinois Government as we are, I encourage you to contact our new Governor Pat Quinn to ask "What is the problem with small Livestock Owners being involved with Agriculture?"
Let's see if it really will be a new era.
Mrs. Michael Sabo Illinois Independent Consumer and Farmers Association (IICFA) ####
Many of you are already aware of the NAIS program, however, this issue addresses both that, and the USDA's decision to hold a planning session for emergency livestock disease control - without benefit of owner/producer involvement of any sort. Since all of you deal either directly with livestock issues, or have contact with livestock owners, we felt we should notify you so that you might notify your clients/customers/vendors. Both letters contain important information and links about this meeting. Will make more sense if the bottom letter is read first, as my letter is a response posted publicly to it. When posting to your lists, feel free to C&P if you wish. Thanks, all! Sue Diederich Illinois Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (847) 873-0251 Palatine, IL 60074