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Premises ID Requirement Adopted for Illinois Fairs

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A premises identification number will be required to exhibit livestock at state, county, 4-H and FFA fairs beginning in 2008, the Illinois Department of Agriculture announced today.          

Premises registration is the first step toward the establishment of a National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and will greatly improve the ability of Illinois animal health professionals to contain disease outbreaks. 

“Knowing the location of each and every livestock operation in the state would enable us to quickly trace the movement of infected animals, impose quarantines and, perhaps, prevent the disease from spreading to neighboring farms if an outbreak were to occur,” Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said.  “The information is absolutely critical to our disease-fighting capabilities, especially at events like fairs where large numbers of animals are confined for short periods of time and then moved.  This is one, reasonable step we can take to protect not only the health of livestock, but also the livelihood of the entire livestock industry.”

Nearly 9,000 Illinois livestock operations already have enrolled in the NAIS, 30 percent of the state’s premises.

“That figure exceeds the USDA’s 2007 target of 25 percent, but full participation will be needed if the system is to achieve its goal of identifying all animals and premises that have been exposed to a disease within 48 hours of its discovery,” Dr. Colleen O’Keefe, division manager of Food Safety and Animal Protection, said. 

Registration is free and easy.  The entire process, which consists of a short questionnaire that asks for a facility’s name, address, phone number and the types of livestock it raises, takes about ten minutes to complete.  The application form is posted on the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s website at  Producers who register online will receive a premises ID number immediately.  The application also can be completed and returned by mail, but may take four weeks to process. To obtain a copy of the form, producers should call 1-866-299-9256.

Because the identification number corresponds to the location where an animal is raised, it does not necessarily have to be issued in the exhibitor’s name.  The number must be obtained and included on entry forms, however, before fairs will allow an animal to compete.

The premises ID requirement also applies to horses.  Owners of horses stabled in Illinois and planning to race or exhibit at either a state or county fair can register online just like Illinois livestock producers can.  Owners of out-of-state horses must obtain a premises ID number through their state’s agriculture department, whose contact information can be found online at

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