USDA moves to electronic identification tags

Source: Farm Progress. The original article is posted here.

USDA moves to electronic identification tags
Animal disease traceability (ADT), as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is knowing where diseased and at-risk animals are, where they’ve been, and when. ADT does not prevent disease introduction, but does allow expedited emergency response during an animal disease outbreak.

The primary ADT system in the United States is the National Uniform Eartagging System (NUES). This system has been used for decades and is familiar to many producers although they may not know it by name. The system is utilized when USDA official tags are required such as when adult breeding cattle moved interstate or for program disease purposes such as brucellosis vaccination or tuberculosis testing. Historically this system used primarily metal visual tags, commonly called “Bangs tags” or “Silver Brite” tags.

In more recent years, both the traditional metal visual tags and certain radiofrequency (electronic) (EID) tags have been accepted as official identification. Official USDA EID tags are a 15-digit usually round/button tag that begin the tag number with the digits 840. EID tags can be read visually and with electronic readers.

Recently the USDA finalized a rule that has been under discussion for the last several years. Significant input was received from industry leaders and animal health officials. This rule moves USDA official identification to exclusively EID tags that can be read both visually and electronically starting in November 2024.

It is important to recognize that this rule change does not in any way require the mandatory tagging of all cattle. This rule change only moves USDA official identification tags from the metal option to EID tags. The classes of cattle requiring official identification have not changed. USDA official identification tags are required only under certain conditions and for certain ages and classes of cattle. The two primary situations requiring official identification are program disease testing, (such as that required for brucellosis), and interstate movement.

The cattle classes requiring identification when moving interstate are listed below. Exceptions to this requirement do apply under unique movement types, such as travel for veterinary care. Feeder cattle and animals moving directly to slaughter do not require official identification for interstate movement.

Classes of cattle requiring USDA official identification for interstate movement include:

Beef Cattle & Bison

• sexually intact and 18 months or older

• used for rodeo or recreational events (regardless of age)

• used for shows or exhibitions

Dairy Cattle

• all female dairy cattle

• all male dairy cattle born after March 11, 2013

Producers can find more information about the USDA rule change at USDA and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry are providing EID tags for the cost of shipping for producers needing to officially identify cattle or for herd management purposes. More information on that program can be found by calling 405-522-6141 or at .

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Informa Markets, a trading division of Informa PLC.