July 19, 2019
USDA will require most cattle to have RFID ear tags by 2023
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently working to strengthen its traceability system to protect the long-term health, marketability and economic viability of the US livestock industry, AGDAILY reports. To prepare for the transition to electronic radio frequency identification (RFID) ear tags, state agriculture departments are assisting producers with the change.
The federal government will require most cattle to bear a RFID in the next few years, the Kentucky Office of the State Veterinarian announced. "By 2023, only RFID tags will be considered official identification," state veterinarian Robert C. Stout said.
"The US Department of Agriculture is requiring RFID tags and phasing out metal tags to improve our ability to trace animal movement quickly and efficiently in the event of a livestock disease outbreak. A strong traceability system is absolutely essential to maintaining open overseas markets for Kentucky and US cattle."
Animals that will require official, individual RFID tags include: beef cattle and bison that are sexually intact and 18 months or older; beef cattle and bison used for rodeo or recreational events (regardless of age); beef cattle and bison used for shows or exhibitions; all female dairy cattle; and all male dairy cattle born after March 11, 2013.
Cattle not being moved off the farm will not be required to have an RFID tag.
The timeline for completing the transition to RFID tags is as follows:
December 31, 2019 - Free metal National Uniform Ear Tag System tags no longer will be provided by USDA. Producers and markets may purchase and apply metal tags in 2020.
January 1, 2021 - USDA no longer will approve production or application of metal tags.
January 1, 2023 - RFID ear tags will be required for beef and dairy cattle and bison moving interstate.
A premises identification number is required to purchase official ID tags. For more information, producers can check out the Advancing Animal Disease Traceability fact sheet at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability/downloads/plan-to-achieve-eid-factsheet.pdf