The National Milk Producers Federation submitted comments supporting the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposal on the Use of Radio Frequency Identification Tags as Official Identification in Cattle and Bison. APHIS has proposed to require the use of official 840-RFID tags for all dairy cattle involved in interstate commerce starting Jan. 1, 2023.
“We commend USDA-APHIS for taking this next step in moving animal identification forward, with the use of RFID tags for official animal identification for dairy cattle,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “A national animal identification system can provide immediate access to relevant information in an animal disease or food safety crisis that could endanger the entire dairy chain, while protecting farmers’ privacy.”
The U.S. dairy industry has long advocated modernizing animal ID and disease traceability systems. Farmer organizations including NMPF, the American Jersey Cattle Association, Holstein Association USA, Inc., National Association of Animal Breeders, National Dairy Herd Information Association and Dairy Calf and Heifer Association formed a group called IDairy to collectively advance official mandatory animal identification to aid disease traceability.
IDairy in received a USDA-APHIS cooperative agreement on premise registration and animal ID education that propelled the use of RFID tags in the U.S. dairy industry. Since 2009, the National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program has also recommend use of official 840-RFID tags for all dairy cattle.
Animal ID and disease traceability needs may be different for other livestock sectors, so NMPF encouraged APHIS to carefully consider comments from those other livestock industries when finalizing requirements and implementation timelines.