Updated Rules for the USDA Animal Identification Plan
Advancing Animal Disease Traceability using Electronic Identification Devices
*THE USDA HAS CURRENTLY STALLED THE TRANSITION TO RFID TAGS, INFORMATION WILL BE UPDATED AS CHANGES TO THE PLAN ARE POTENTIALLY MADE*
RFID Ear tags will be required as the only official animal id device in beef, dairy, and bison as of January 1st, 2023. Other USDA animal identification techniques (swine, goats, sheep, etc.) remain unchanged as of 5/13/19. However, producers in these industries should begin to see potential changes as early as Fall 2020.
Any beef, dairy, or bison that are required to have an official identification will need to have an Electronic ID (can be called, EID, RFID, or Electronic tag) versus the previous metal tags. Only the type of tag is changing, no other parts of the animal identification rule are changing as of now.
What’s NOT changing:
No changes to any of the requirements regarding ages of cattle being tagged, direct to slaughter, or other species, as of now.
Implementation Timeline for transition to RFID (radio frequency Identification) for Beef, Dairy, and Bison
December 31st, 2019
USDA will discontinue providing free metal tags.
Approved vendor tags will be available for purchase on a state-by-state basis as authorized by each state animal health official through December 31st, 2020.
January 1st, 2021
USDA will no longer approve production of metal ear tags. Metal ear tags can no longer be applied to an animal for official identification. RFID tags must be used as official identification for any newly tagged animals. (Animals without an RFID tag but that have a metal tag before Jan. 1st, 2021, will not need an RFID tag until Jan 1, 2023)
January 1st, 2023
ALL cattle (beef, dairy, & bison) required to have an official ID will have to have an RFID tag. Metal tags will no longer be accepted as a form of USDA official identification for any cattle.
What’s it going to cost me?
The USDA will no longer be offering free official cattle identification tags. Depending on quantity purchased, tags can range from $1.50-$2.00 each. Applicators are generally brand specific but most applicators can apply flap tags and RFID tags.
You will not need a wand to read the RFID tags, unless you see a benefit of this in your production system.
Why are they changing things?
Animal disease traceability is a high priority for one of America’s most long standing industries. Building a strong identification system is key to being able to track a disease outbreak, limit quarantine areas, and promote efficiency, this all results in a limited impact to the industry if something should occur. RFID leads to an increase in speed and efficiency for animal health officials.
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/2012/12/pdf/traceability_final_rule.pdf – Traceability Final Rule
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/traceability – Traceability Facts
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/nvap/NVAP-Reference-Guide/Animal-Identification/Cattle-Identification – Cattle identification & Aging