RUMINANT NEWS

USDA’S ADVANCES RFID TAG PROGRAM FOR CATTLE DISEASE TRACEABILITY

A contracts to purchase up to 8 million low-frequency radio frequency identification (RFID) ear tags has been awarded by  the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which will help increase overall animal disease traceability in cattle. It will allows purchase of additional tags each year for up to five years.

USDA believes that RFID devices will provide states and the cattle industries with the best opportunity to rapidly contain the spread of high-economic impact diseases, APHIS said. It will also help offset the costs of switching to RFID tags and will be provided to animal health officials and will be distributed for use in replacement breeding cattle at no cost to the producer, APHIS explained. RFID low-frequency official calfhood vaccination (OCV) button tags are available for brucellosis-vaccinated animals, and official “840” white button tags are available for non-vaccinated heifers. Contracts for the RFID tags were awarded to three U.S. tag companies: Allflex, Datamars and Y-Tex.  As part of its overall effort to increase traceability in cattle, APHIS distributed more than 1.1 million RFID tags to 38 states between January and July 2020. Each state veterinarian distributes the tags in a way that best serves their industry.