USDA proposes most cattle have RFID tags by 2023

In an ongoing effort to increase animal traceability, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on a proposal that would only recognize radio frequency identification (RFID) devices as the official ear tag for interstate movement of cattle and bison that are required to be identified by animal disease traceability rules.

“If approved, by 2023 only RFID tags will be considered official identification,” State Veterinarian Dr. Robert C. Stout said. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing RFID tags replace 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 international markets for Kentucky and U.S. cattle.”

“The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is dedicated to working with producers and industry organizations to help with a speedy and orderly transition to RFID ear tags,” Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “In the weeks and months to come, we will be speaking to industry groups to help them understand the importance of the switch. As we get updates from USDA, we will pass them along to Kentucky producers.”

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