USDA distributes eight million low-frequency RFID ear tags

These 8 million free RFID tags will be provided to animal health officials and will be distributed for use in replacement breeding cattle and bison at no cost to the producer. RFID low frequency official calfhood vaccination (OCV) button tags are available for brucellosis-vaccinated animals, and official “840” white button tags are available for non-vaccinated heifers. Free metal National Uniform Eartagging System tags will remain available as USDA continues to receive comments and evaluate next steps on its proposed RFID transition timeline. The proposal is available for review and public comment through October 5, 2020.

Contracts for the RFID tags were awarded to three American tag companies, all compliant with the Buy American Act– Allflex (Dallas, TX), Datamars (Temple, TX), and Y-Tex (Cody, WY). Contracting with all three manufacturers will allow USDA to procure the number of tags needed to meet an industry volume equivalent to the number of replacement heifers in the United States.

As part of its overall effort to increase traceability in cattle and bison, APHIS distributed more than 1.1 million RFID tags to 38 states between January and July 2020. Each state veterinarian distributes the tags in a way that best serves their industry. For more information on availability and distribution of tags, producers can contact their State Veterinarian’s office. Producers can also purchase RFID tags for their animals by contacting any of the companies approved to manufacture official identification RFID tags.

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