USDA plans to purchase up to 8 million low-frequency radio frequency identification ear tags to help increase overall animal disease traceability in cattle and bison.
“USDA continues its commitment to protecting our nation’s animal agriculture by increasing traceability in the cattle and bison sectors, in this case by providing free RFID tags to interested producers,” says Greg Ilbach, USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. “This will not only help offset the costs of switching to RFID tags, but also help us more quickly respond to potential disease events.”
In Minnesota, these RFID tags can be ordered on the Board of Animal Health website for use in replacement breeding cattle and bison at no cost to the producer. MBAH advises that producers should order the number of tags needed for replacement heifers for one year. However, make sure you place an order well in advance.
In checking the MBAH website link Aug. 27, MBAH posted that there is currently a delay in shipping tags so orders may take months to arrive.
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 Oct. 5.
Contracts for the RFID tags were awarded to three American tag companies, all compliant with the Buy American Act: Allflex, Dallas, Texas; Datamars, Temple, Texas; and Y-Tex, Cody, Wyoming.
Producers may also purchase RFID tags for their animals by contacting any of the companies approved to manufacture official identification RFID tags.