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On Mandatory E-ID, Come & Tag It

In April, the United States Department of Agricultures (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced that it would be putting in place the technology, tools, and processes to help quickly pinpoint and respond to costly foreign animal diseases.

Rapid traceability in a disease outbreak will not only limit how long farms are quarantined, keep more animals from getting sick, and help ranchers and farmers get back to selling their products more quickly but will help keep our markets open,said Dr. Michael Watson, APHIS Administrator.

According to APHIS, The final rule applies to all sexually intact cattle and bison 18 months of age or older, all dairy cattle, cattle and bison of any age used for rodeo or recreation events, and cattle or bison of any age used for shows or exhibitions. The rule requires official ear tags to be visually and electronically readable for official use for interstate movement of certain cattle and bison, and revises and clarifies certain record requirements related to cattle.

The implementation of this rule is expected to go into effect on Nov. 5, 2024.  

The National Cattlemens Beef Association (NCBA) is supportive of this rule, stating, Recognizing that animal disease traceability is an essential component for protecting the United States cattle herd during an animal disease outbreak, NCBA supports the development and implementation of a nationally significant animal disease traceability system.

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard, argues this rule has nothing to do with animal disease mitigation.

The final rule mandates the use of the highest-cost animal identification ear tag and strips from U.S. cattle producers the option to use lower-cost but equally effective ear tags for disease traceback purposes,said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. And while the final rule mandates EID technology in eartags, it does not require the electronic transfer of any data from those eartags to anywhere or anyone. In other words, the rule does nothing other than to force cattle producers to put an electronic chip, which is likely made in China, in the ear of their cattle. 

Cattle producers dont need DC bureaucrats telling them how to manage and track their livestock,Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) said in a statement. USDAs proposed RFID mandate is federal government overreach, plain and simple. If farmers and ranchers want to use electronic tags, they can do so voluntarily.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-WY) introduced a joint resolution pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block the APHIS rule mandating electronic identification ear tags for bison and cattle moving interstate.

This rule is a solution in search of a problem that will advance a federal mandate which the American ranching community will have to pay for,said Rep. Hageman. America produces the highest quality meat in the world and there is nothing wrong with our traditional disease traceability system. This unfunded mandate raises serious privacy concerns for ranchers and their herds, with the potential to lock ranchers out of their traditional markets, thereby furthering vertical integration of the U.S. food supply chain.

Hageman added, We need look no further than what happened in Ireland to recognize the threat of a USDA-driven EID mandate. In early 2022, Ireland adopted an EID mandate, and by August 2023, its government was reporting that they needed to slaughter as many as 41,000 head of livestock not because of a disease outbreak, but because of so called climate change. A mandatory EID simply gives the federal government too much power. 

My two cents much like our government abused the Constitutional rights, privacy, freedoms, liberties, businesses, and autonomy of people during the COVID-19 pandemic, our government is at it again trampling on the independent cattle ranching community. Its a shame that not every cattlemens group and association in the country isnt pushing back against this, and you have to wonder, why are some falling in line with the agenda to control every cattle operation in the country?

Heres what I know to be true Ill never advocate for mandatory programs, using our tax dollars, that will ultimately press the heavy hand of government on individual citizens. These tags are labor intensive, costly, and will create police statesout of every auction barn in the country. With the average age of the American cattle rancher pushing 60, this will likely cause an increased reduction in our nations cow herd numbers even further.

At the end of the day, this is a gross overreach of power, and it puts more control in the hands of bureaucrats. Without question, this rule will push small and mid-sized family farms and ranches out of business. And it opens the door for increased tracking on a business owners equity and cattle ownership. We already have the opportunity as beef producers to voluntarily tag our cattle for disease risk mitigation or value-added marketing. Producers must resist and sound the alarm on this before it goes into effect, and states must push back on this federal mandate if it does.

My message to our politicians and anyone within our agricultural industry pushing for this disgusting mandate on Americas beef cattle producers is simple Come and Tag It.


  • Our cattle will then belong to the government ! Communism

    Steve Pauls
  • Great. Keeps our cattle (EID’d) a non-commodity basis (read: premium) to our buyers. Belief in our product!

    Art Brownlee
  • Hey Lee, So good to connect with you, neighbor! Hope we meet on the dusty trail sometime soon! I’m not too far off the Plano Road over by Upland Colony. Stop in and say hi anytime!

    Amanda J Radke
  • Just read your Inspiring Radke report in the green sheet 6/29 issue. After realizing you call mitchell home I googled you and found this story aboutID
    It is pretty obvious we agree on politics. Best wishes and keep up the good work. I live near artesian but have spent nearly 50 years in Jerauld Sanborn and Davison counties

    Lee Buffington

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