NCBA Supportive of Cattle Electronic ID System to Aid in Disease Traceability

NCBA Supportive of Cattle Electronic ID System to Aid in Disease Traceability

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Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, visited with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Director of Animal Health and Food Safety Policy, Chase DeCoite, to talk about a possible mandatory electronic ID system for cattle in the future.

“A few years ago, during the Trump administration, USDA APHS, rolled out a policy change that would have moved mandatory identification to an electronic ID system,” DeCoite said. “Rather than the current system that is underway, it would have mandated official ID tags that are necessary for interstate movements of animals over 18 months of age and those classes currently under mandatory ID transition to electronic ID.”

The idea of an electronic ID system, DeCoite said, was met with some resistance in the form of lawsuits and such, so instead the agency rolled back that policy change and decided to approach it from a rulemaking process.

“So, we have been awaiting a proposed rule that would transition the mandatory disease traceability identification to an electronic ID,” DeCoite said. “We have seen some movement in Washington on this. We are aware that this proposed rule is currently with the office of management and budget and that means its next step will be to become a proposed rule and announced in the federal register.”

DeCoite said NCBA expects it to become a proposed rule sometime between now and the end of the year.

“NCBA, through our grassroots policy, is supportive of electronic ID and one of the reasons we are is to reduce the amount of time that it takes to do a disease traceback,” DeCoite said. “That is vitally important because, in an event of a foreign animal disease or a disease that occurs every day within the cattle industry, the amount of time that it takes to do that traceback is critical. It means that we could return to commerce faster in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak.”

DeCoite said electronic ID also means the number of animals impacted by potential disease spread in the event of any disease impacting the cattle industry could be reduced.

“We are awaiting the next steps from USDA so we can put in our comments and be supportive so long as that proposed rule is as we expect it to be,” DeCoite said.

Any tag that does not support electronic data transfer will not be in accordance with the new rule that will come out, DeCoite said, so there is some question as to the date the program will go into effect.

“We are also going to be advocating that USDA continues its tag program where they supply a number of tags to the states to increase adoption and to help our producers with that investment to come into compliance with the mandatory identification rules,” DeCoite said. “We would hate to see USDA put out a new rule and a new mandate without having the support they have had for the program over the last several years.”

DeCoite said it sounds like things will move to electronic ID for animals moving forward at an effective date, but NCBA is not certain of what that date will be.

“We will actively be watching that, and we will really be making that ask of USDA to support tag programs that make sure the states and our cattle producers have access to the tags that would allow them to comply with the program,” DeCoite said.

Click the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Ron Hays and Chase DeCoite on mandatory electronic ID for cattle.

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