USDA moves toward all-RFID system for officially identifying cattle

Officials at the agency believe that RFID devices like these will provide states and the cattle industry the best opportunity to rapidly contain the spread of disease. “Use of RFID tags better positions the livestock industry, along with state and federal veterinarians to quickly trace animals exposed to or infected with potentially devastating diseases before they can do substantial damage to the U.S. livestock industry,” the agency said in its press release.

Under its current timeline, the agency wants to require RFID tags for beef cattle, dairy cattle and bison moving interstate by January 1, 2023.

RFID data is “captured with accuracy, speed and less stress to the cow. We need traceability in this country. Our trading partners require it!”

In tandem with its push to make RFID the official tag of the industry, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) awarded contracts to purchase up to 8 million RFID ear tags so interested livestock producers can get them for free. The contract will allow APHIS to purchase additional tags each year for up to five years.

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