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Mandatory Cattle Identification Program Q & A - UPDATED 9/12/2014

  1. What is the official date for using RFID ear tags?
  2. When do I, as a producer, have to tag my cattle?
  3. What is the benefit to the State of Michigan for having all cattle identified with official RFID?
  4. What organizations/industry groups supported the mandatory programs?
  5. Why is Michigan switching to 840 RFID ear tags?
  6. What will happen to the producers that are currently using RFID ear tags beginning with numbers other than 840?
  7. Can producers order official RFID tags without a premises number?
  8. How many premises shall I register?
  9. Were do I apply the official RFID tag to the cattle?
  10. Will producers need to purchase a tag applicator?
  11. Will producers need to have a Radio Frequency Reader to read the tags?
  12. Will feeder cattle purchased from another state need official RFID tags?
  13. Do cattle being sent to other states need official RFID tags?
  14. Do cattle being sent to slaughter need official RFID tags?
  15. What happens to the official RFID tags when the animal arrives at a slaughter plant?
  16. Do I need an official RFID tag on my cattle that I slaughter for personal consumption?
  17. What is the MDARD website URL for additional information or updates on the mandatory cattle identification programs?


1)
  1. What is the official date for using RFID electronic tags?
  1. Starting March 1, 2007, all cattle must be identified with official Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) ear tags prior to movement from a Michigan premises. To comply with the USDA Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rules, RFID applied on or after March 11, 2015 must begin with the prefix “840” to be considered as official identification. RFID tags beginning with numbers other than 840 that were applied to the animal prior to March 11, 2015 are considered as official identification for the life of that animal and should not be removed.

2)
  1. When do I, as a producer, have to tag my cattle?
  1. All cattle are required to be tagged with official RFID before they can leave a Michigan premises for any reason, however producers are encouraged to tag animals born on their farms while the animals are still small.  Cattle located in the following counties have additional identification requirements which can be found in the current Bovine Tuberculosis Zoning Order: Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Oscoda, Otsego, Montmorency, and Presque Isle counties.

3)
  1. What is the benefit to the state of Michigan for having all cattle electronically identified?
    • Provides assurance for pre-harvest food safety and security.
    • Provides for rapid intrastate and interstate animal tracking for disease control and eradication, thus reducing the response time and increasing conclusiveness to food bourne diseases and to zoonotic diseases, such as Bovine Tuberculosis
    • Required by the USDA for moving Michigan's Bovine Tuberculosis Zones to a higher status.
    • Allows Michigan producers to maintain and expand export markets.

4)
  1. What organizations/industry groups supported the mandatory program?
    • MDARD Bovine Tuberculosis Advisory Committee
    • MDARD Livestock Identification Advisory Committee
    • Michigan Cattlemen's Association
    • Michigan Farm Bureau
    • Michigan Milk Producer's Association
    • Michigan Pork Producer's Association

5)
  1. Why is Michigan switching to 840 RFID ear tags?
  1. The prefix “840” designates the animal’s country of origin as the United States of America, as required by the USDA Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rules.  RFID tags applied on or after March 11, 2015 must begin with the prefix 840 to be considered as official identification. RFID tags beginning with numbers other than 840 that were applied to the animal prior to March 11, 2015 are considered as official identification for the life of that animal and should not be removed.

6)
  1. What will happen to the producers that are currently using RFID ear tags beginning with numbers other than 840?
  1. These tags will be 'grandfathered' into the system as official identification as long as they were applied prior to March 11, 2015.  Producers are encouraged to use up their current supply of RFID prior to March 11, 2015, and start ordering 840 RFID tags from their supplier.

7)
  1. Can producers order tags without a premises number?
  1. No, because tags have to be assigned to a premises for traceability.  To request a premises number, contact MDARD at 1-800-292-3939.

8)
  1. How many premises shall I register?
  1. One or more, depending on whether or not you commingle animals. If you have two herds that are kept separately and never commingled, or located in non-contiguous counties that are miles apart, you may want two premises ID numbers.

9)
  1. Where do I apply the official RFID tag to the cattle?
  1. Apply the tag to the left ear following the directions supplied with the tags. The left ear of an animal is on the same side as the left ear of a human.

10)
  1. Will producers need to purchase a tag applicator?
  1. Yes, because RFID tags require a different applicator than bangle tags.  If the applicator has the wrong pin, it will destroy the tamperproof tag when applied.

11)
  1. Will producers need to have a Radio Frequency Reader to read the tags?
  1. No, both the front and back of the RFID tag will have the 15-numeric characters printed on them.

12)
  1. Will feeder cattle purchased from another state need RFID tags?
  1. Feeder cattle from another state require official RFID before leaving the Michigan farm that imported them, unless they are moving directly to a livestock market that has a tagging agreement with MDARD (where they will be tagged with official RFID upon arrival), or unless a feedlot has a feedlot agreement with MDARD to send finished animals directly to slaughter.  For information about who qualifies for tagging or feedlot agreements with MDARD, contact Dr. Rick Smith at 517-284-5689.

13)
  1. Do cattle being sent to other states need Official RFID Tags?
  1. Yes.  The requirement to be tagged with an official RFID tag when leaving a Michigan farm is a Michigan requirement and applies whether an animal stays in the state or ultimately leaves the state.  This is an important part of MDARD’s disease traceability program.

14)
  1. Do cattle being sent to slaughter need Official RFID Tags?
  1. Yes, all cattle being sent to slaughter from Michigan farms must be identified with official RFID tags.  Michigan has RFID-reading equipment for these tags in both in-state and out-of-state slaughter plants, and having Michigan cattle identified with RFID tags at slaughter is an important part of MDARD's disease surveillance program.

15)
  1. What happens to the RFID tags when the animal arrives at a slaughter plant?
  1. The RFID number is read by equipment at the slaughter plant, recorded in the database, and then the tag is removed and destroyed.

16)
  1. Do I need an RFID tag on my cattle that I slaughter for personal consumption?
  1. Cattle that leave a Michigan premises to move to custom slaughter must have official RFID tags.  Additionally, official RFID tags from cattle slaughtered on the farm in the following counties must be sent to the MDARD Atlanta office or saved for pick-up: Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego, and Presque Isle. Cattle slaughtered on a farm outside of these counties do not require official RFID.

17)
  1. What is the MDARD website URL for additional information or updates on the mandatory cattle identification program?
  1. The website for additional information or to check for updates on the mandatory cattle identification program is www.michigan.gov/mdard. Click on Animal Health & Care, and then click on Animal ID.



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