As the time to order new tags draws near, livestock producers should be aware of some important changes concerning the use of 900 series prefix tags and American ID, say state animal health officials.
Starting March 11only tags that start with 840 and tags that follow the National Uniform Eartagging System (NUES, metal, silver, brite tags) will be recognized as official identification. Any tag with a 900 series prefix or American ID will not be accepted as official ID for cattle unless that animal was tagged before March 11.
"We suggest that livestock producers get an early start and use 840 tags when needed for official identification to avoid any confusion and possible improper tagging," says Dr. Paul McGraw, Wisconsin state veterinarian.
The rules changed in early 2013 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture published a final rule establishing general regulations for improving the traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate.
"If a 900 series tag or American ID is newly applied to an animal on or after March 11, the tag will not be considered official identification and another tag will need to be applied," McGraw says.
Another change is that metal USDA approved tags that follow the National Uniform Eartagging System will be acceptable as official identification provided they have a U.S. shield. Tags purchased in the last couple of years will have the U.S. shield, but tags purchased prior to that time may not. All tags applied as official identification on or after March 11 are required to have a U.S. shield.
"If your tags do not have the U.S. shield, you need to order new tags bearing the shield," McGraw says.
For more information about the Animal Disease Traceability rule, check datcp.wi.gov and search "traceability."