Federal regulations require that all swine shown at fairs must have official individual identification. If swine do not have official individual identification, they may be denied entry to the fair.
It is ultimately the responsibility of the exhibitor, not the fair, to ensure that the animal is officially identified.
Types of Official Identification
Because hogs exhibited at fairs in Polk County are participating in a “market” class, the only acceptable form of identification are federally approved eartags. There are other acceptable forms of identification for purebred animals. As this is not likely the case in Polk County, we will not discuss those in this fact sheet.
The following are federally approved eartags.
- 840 eartags—Each tag contains 15 digits and will begin with the numbers 840 (USA country code). The remaining 12 digits on the tag are unique to the individual animal.
- RFID 840 eartags—Electronic identification tags, also known as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) eartags, can be used to store and track information through a database using a readable scanner (wand).
- NUES eartags—these eartags are often called “silver” or “brite” tags and are a part of the National Uniform Eartagging System (NUES). These tags have a 8 or 9 character format.
Premises identification (Premises ID) is a unique code that is permanently assigned to a single physical location. This number identifies the location where livestock are raised, housed, or pass through during commerce. This number is obtained after registering with the Florida Department of Agriculture.
This number is designed to help identify animals to the locations where they were raised or to locations that they pass through during their lives. In the event of an animal health emergency, Premise ID can help animal health officials quickly trace an animal to a location.
Record Keeping Requirements
Each person who handles swine in interstate commerce (buying, selling, transporting across state lines) is required to keep records relating to the transfer of ownership, shipment, or handling of the swine for a minimum of five years.
Obtaining Federally Approved Eartags
If your livestock project does not already have a federally approved eartag, you will need to get one. It is difficult to purchase just one or two tags and, in order to purchase tags, you must have a Premises ID (see above). You can also take your animal to an approved tagging site. Operators of approved tagging sites can register your Premises ID, apply your official eartag, and record and assign the official eartag number to your premises. For a list of approved tagging sites, click here, or call (850) 410-0900.
Existing Tags vs. Fair Tags
Hogs that are shown at the Polk County Youth Fair are issued a tag that does not meet federal identification requirements. Hogs that are shown at the Florida State Fair will be issued an official eartag, if they do not already have one, because the State Fair is a registered tagging site. These tags are intended to provide permanent identification of livestock and to enable animal health officials to discover the source of animal disease outbreaks. Swine exhibitors should record the official eartag number. Removal of official eartags is prohibited.
If an animal loses an official eartag and needs a new one, the person applying the new tag must record the following information about the event and maintain the record for five years:
- The date the new tag is applied;
- The official identification number on the tag; and
- The official identification number on the old tag.
Where can I find more information?
Code of Federal Regulations. 9 CFR 71.19.
Official Identification for Swine at Fairs FAQ. https://www.fdacs.gov/Agriculture-Industry/Livestock/Pigs-Swine/Official-Identification-for-Swine-at-Fairs-FAQ .