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Serving: MN
holstein calf with ear tag Layne Kennedy/Getty Images
FREE TAGS: USDA plans to buy RFID ear tags and distribute them for free to farmers. However, make sure you place your order well in advance. There is a delay in shipping tags, according to the Minnesota animal health department, so orders may take months to arrive.

USDA offers RFID eartags to help with disease traceability

Free tags are available for replacement heifers in Minnesota, but plan on waiting a few months for them to arrive.

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.

Source: Minnesota Board of Animal Health, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all of its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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