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Serving: United States
Angus cow with metal brucellosis tag in her ear Alan Newport
The familiar metal tags are being phased out over the next two years or so and must be replaced by RFID tags.

Soon: RFID tags required for Bangs ID

Metal tags for breeding stock will be phased out and RIFD tags will be required.

Over the next four years, USDA will stop providing free metal tags as part of the brucellosis eradication program and will require bison and cattle producers to purchase RFID tags for breeding animals moving across state lines.

Initially, USDA and states may subsidize the new tags, but it sounds like producers will eventually foot the bill.

Here is the timetable USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has set forth:

December 31, 2019 -- USDA will discontinue providing free metal tags. However, approved vendors will still be permitted to produce official metal tags for one additional year. Approved vendor tags will be available for purchase on a state-by-state basis as authorized by each state animal health official through December 31, 2020.

January 1, 2021 -- USDA will no longer approve vendor production of metal ear tags with the official USDA shield. Accredited veterinarians and/or producers can no longer apply metal ear tags for official identification and must start using only official RFID tags.

January 1, 2023 -- RFID ear tags will be required for beef and dairy cattle and bison moving interstate that meet the above requirements. Animals previously tagged with metal ear tags will have to be retagged with RFID ear tags in order to move interstate. Feeder cattle and animals moving directly to slaughter are not subject to RFID requirements.

These types of beef cattle and bison must be tagged for interstate commerce:

sexually intact and 18 months or older

used for rodeo or recreational events (regardless of age)

used for shows or exhibitions

The USDA-APHIS fact sheet on these changes is available at

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

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