Source: Texas Animal Health Commission | April 26, 2019
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently working with federal, state and industry partners to strengthen its traceability system to protect the long-team health, marketability and economic viability of the U.S. livestock industry.
While there are several steps USDA needs to take in order to do this, the most essential one is to move from metal identification tags to electronic identification tags in beef and dairy cattle, as well as in bison.
“The transition from metal identification tags to radio frequency identification (RFID) tags will not happen overnight,” said Dr. Andy Schwartz, Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) executive director and state veterinarian. “The transition is projected to take four years and we want to use this time to educate and encourage Texas cattle, dairy and bison producers to start taking steps toward electronic identification.”
Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, only individual official RFID tags will be accepted as official identification for cattle and bison moving interstate, including:
Beef Cattle & Bison
- Sexually intact and 18 months or older
- Used for rodeo or recreation events (regardless of age)
- Used for shows or exhibitions
- All female dairy cattle
- All male dairy cattle born after March 11, 2013
USDA understands producers need time to transition to RFID and has worked with the National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials to establish manageable milestones to achieve this goal.
Dec. 31, 2019
USDA will discontinue providing free metal tags. However, approved vendors will still be permitted to produce official metal tags for one additional year. Approved vendor tags will be available for purchase on a state-by-state basis as authorized by each state animal health official through Dec. 31, 2020.
Jan. 1, 2021
USDA will no longer approve vendor production of metal ear tags with the official USDA shield. Accredited veterinarians and/or producers can no longer apply metal ear tags for official identification and must start using only official RFID tags.
Jan. 1, 2023
RFID ear tags will be required for beef and dairy cattle and bison moving interstate that meet the RFID tagging requirements. Animals with metal ear tags will have to be retagged with RFID ear tags in order to move interstate. Feeder cattle and animals moving directly to slaughter are not subject to RFID requirements.
For questions about current accepted forms of official identification, USDA approved RFID ear tag specifications and premises identification numbers (PIN) contact the TAHC Animal Disease Traceability Department at 1-800-550-8242 ext. 733,
[email protected] or https://www.tahc.texas.gov/adt/.
To read more about the USDA’s transition to electronic identification visit https://www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability/downloads/plan-to-achieve-eid-factsheet.pdf.