New identification rule coming for Nebraska cattle, bison |

New identification rule coming for Nebraska cattle, bison

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Cattle and bison producers in Nebraska will be required to place an official identification tag in their animals once a proposed rule is implemented as early as 2013. The tag will be used to help the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) trace animals and facilitate interstate movement of livestock in case of a disease. Nebraska’s plan, NDA’s Locate in 48 Animal Disease Traceability program, is the result of a new USDA Animal Disease Traceability Framework that requires each state to develop and submit a compliance plan by December 31, 2011.

“The official identification requirements for cattle and bison will be phased in,” according to Ross Baker, the animal disease traceability system coordinator for Nebraska. Beginning on the effective date of the final rule, the following animals will be subject to the official identification requirements:

• All sexually intact cattle and bison 18 months of age or over

• Dairy cattle of any age

• Cattle and bison of any age used for rodeo or recreational purposes

• Cattle and bison of any age used for shows or exhibitions

“All other cattle (beef cattle under 18 months of age) would be exempt from the official identification requirement when the rule is first published, and until a notice is published in the Federal Register defining the effective date for requiring official identification for these cattle,” Baker explained. “Additionally, during this period, cattle and bison moved directly to a recognized slaughtering establishment, or through no more than one approved livestock facility and then directly to a recognized slaughtering establishment may be identified with a USDA-approved backtag.”

Although these animals will be among the first to be monitored, Baker said once the program is working smoothly, and the state reaches 70 percent compliance, they propose to add feeder cattle to the rule. “It might be a challenge to make sure the fall run of feeder cattle are all compliant and have official identification tags,” he said.

There are a few different types of tags that will be accepted as official identification tags under the new rule, Baker said. The official identification that will be used for this program is the metal tags that have been used for generations, he explained. Brite or Nuce tags can also be used, as well as the 840 panels tags and electronic or RFID 840 tags. Brucellosis, official calfhood vaccination tags, and bangs vaccination tags are also acceptable.

Baker said producers should determine what type of official identification tag they want to use and stay with it, because adding an official identification tag instead of recording the existing one is strictly prohibited. “It is very important to remember one animal, one official ID,” he stressed to producers.

Producers can obtain the official tags from their local veterinarian, who will be required to keep a log of the tag numbers provided. “If you want or need to have an official tag, you can also obtain one without a premise ID,” Baker continued. “Producers can also tag their animals themselves or have a veterinarian do it for them,” he noted.

If the animal loses the tag, producers can replace the tag. However, they will need to keep records of the tags for verification purposes. Baker also cautioned producers against sharing tags with other producers. “Since these tags are official identification tags, and are recorded as belonging to one producer, it would make it harder to trace in case of a disease if a producer shares tags with someone else. Everyone should only use the tags assigned to them,” he said.

Development of the program

When creating the program, Baker said the state developed four measurements to be used in monitoring Nebraska’s effectiveness implementing the program. The first objective is for Nebraska to identify an animal with a disease, and to notify the state where the diseased animal was officially identified within one business day of discovery. If the animal does not have official identification, then it is a Nebraska animal and disease, unless proven differently by other methods.

Next, is for the state where the reference animal was officially identified to confirm it has documentation that an official ID number was issued within its jurisdiction, and contact information for the person who received that number.

The third objective is to determine the state from which a reference animal was moved interstate into Nebraska, and notify that state of the reference animal’s official ID number. “What we are hoping to determine with this objective is the possibility that the animal came into Nebraska from a state other than the one where its official ID number originated,” Baker said. “Increasing the use of electronic health certificates will make achieving this performance standard easier.”

The last objective is to validate the movement of the reference animal. This can be accomplished using required health certificate information, including where the inspection by an accredited veterinarian took place, and the location where the animals are moved interstate. “All states currently require a certificate of veterinary inspection, commonly referred to as a health certificate, for the in-shipment from other states of breeder cattle, and 48 states require one for feeder cattle,” Baker said.

Once the new rule is implemented, veterinarians will have five working days to submit a completed health certificate to the state veterinarian’s office. The state animal health official in the state of origin must also forward a copy of the health certificate to the state animal health office in the state of destination within five working days.

Sheep and swine will also be covered under the new program, but Baker said they are already required to have official identification tags through the US scrapie program for sheep, and the Premise Identification Number (PIN) tag for slaughter swine.

Baker said the state will be accepting comments about the program until December 9. The new rule is expected to be published and finalized 12-15 months later. For questions or more information about the NDA’s Locate in 48 program, please call 1-800-572-2437.

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