According to Downsize DC, the USDA is scraping the NAIS!!! I am so excited about this, I can't even tell you!
Details of why they decided to back down and what they plan on doing now is available here.
It's 7 pages and a lot of it is the same information repeated over and over again in response to different FAQs. Basically, here's the deal...
They're going to do another program, the Animal Disease Traceability Framework, but it is going to be very limited in its scope, while being very flexible in how people participate. The only animals to which the program will apply will be those involved in interstate commerce! Animals who remain within a single state will not need to be traced by the program. In addition, a uniform method identifying an animal is no longer required. In other words, no RFID tags for those who don't want them. Various methods of tagging will be recognized as valid, such as metal tags, branding, tattooing, etc.
The next thing they're going to do is meet with States and Tribal Nations to discuss what they'd like to see in the program and what the people they're representing want to see. Then this summer and fall, they're going to continue working to put together actual standards for tracing animals in interstate commerce with special attention to making it simple, efficient and easy for individuals with as little hassle as possible. They hope to have the new rules published by next winter and ready for a 90 public comment period at that time before final review and implementation. What all that means for interstate transportation of animals during the next year+, I can't say, but they aren't using NAIS any more.
I like the tone of this new program, at the very least, and their claim of transparency, straightforward honesty, and sensitivity toward the concerns of common citizens who own livestock animals. The USDA seems to have taken the criticism of the NAIS seriously. We'll see if they continue to follow through with that.