The USDA is moving forward with its efforts to revamp the animal identification policy after the public comment period for the National Animal Identification Service (NAIS) revealed that the majority of respondents were highly critical of the program. Only a fraction of the producers in the United States were willing to participate in NAIS. The USDA announced on February 5, 2010 it was going to revise efforts to track animal disease using input from producers, individual state agricultural policymakers, experts and Tribal Nations. The USDA has now committed to forming a new animal disease traceability framework in partnership with the states and Tribal Nations. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has expressed hope that the new framework will allow producers, the states and the Tribal Nations to use their expertise to draft a traceability program that works best for them. The new framework will only apply to animals shipped interstate and will only focus on animal disease traceability.
We arrived at the Food Bank for NYC at 6 a.m. to resume our root vegetable preparation. By lunchtime, the parsnips and sweet potatoes had been fully prepped and the turkey was already cooking. Zak Pellacio and Jori of Fatty Crab, Cabrito (and other noted New York City restaurant ventures) began to demonstrate the techniques used in preparing heritage turkey and stayed cooly on-task amidst a flurry of New York Giants (yes, the football team). Zak made stock from the necks and backs, and drumsticks roasted continuously in anticipation of tomorrow’s meal. Chef Nate Gross of the Food Bank for NYC kitchen hosted a crew of guest chefs, volunteers and football stars in a 13-hour marathon of chopping and cleaning–all of which has hopefully made our task tomorrow (serving Thanksgiving dinner for seven hundred) somewhat more manageable. The video crew thepeoplewhofeedus.com arrived today, and began to film what will become an educational video about using all parts of the animal–not just the most heavily marketed. We have two virtual trophies for two of our volunteers from today. In Brigid”s tireless organization of this event, she managed to recruit an outstanding volunteer: her mother Mary Sweeney. Liz Hohn wins the other trophy, and can claim it tomorrow at 4 a.m. when we all arrive to finish turkey prep. Thanks again everyone and we’ll see you through coffee steam in a few hours.