The new rule on traceability adopted by the Indiana Board of Animal Health to match up with federal guidelines has been approved and out there for some time. But now that the change is within a week of happening, some people appear to be panicking. Even some livestock sale barn owners fear producers don't have a clue as to what to expect, or what to do.
That's the word from the countryside in north-central Indiana. Meanwhile, BOAH continues to provide information, sending representatives to area beef cattle meetings hosted by the Indiana Beef Cattle Association, and attending other events to spread the word.
Cheryl Miller, a veterinarian working with BOAH in central Indiana, says that the biggest question appears to be concerning cattle. If you have a dairy heifer or cow of any age and it's moving anywhere, she must have a required tag by January 1. If it's a dairy bull or steer born after March 11 in 2013, it must also be tagged. If it's a beef animal, male or female, as long as it is sexually intact, it must have a tag if it's 18 months or older.
However, animals moving directly to a slaughter facility or to an approved market, where the animal will be identified, are exempt.
The main difference between dairy and beef is that all beef steers and beef heifers younger than 18 months don't require ID, Miller says.
There are three choices for tags – an 840 tag, a National Uniform Eartagging System "brite" tag or an official USDA program tag, Miller says.
Many will use the 840 tag. It has a USDA shield and will be printed with a string of 15 numbers, she notes. It can be a radio frequency button, or a yellow tag, or you can choose to use both.
One question has already come up about 4-H animals. Beef steers will not need them, but all 4-H dairy steers will need official ID for shows, Miller concludes.