ICA Comments on RFID Rule

| October 6, 2020

Contact: Cora Fox, Director of Government Relations, Iowa Cattlemen's Association, 515-296-2266

On Monday, October 5, 2020, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association submitted comments on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposal to fully transition to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags as the official ear tags for use in interstate travel.

The intent of the proposal is to improve the ability of USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to trace livestock for animal disease purposes by phasing out visual metal ear tags and replacing them with RFID tags.

The proposed change maintains classes of cattle required to have official identification (sexually intact and 18 months of age or older, all female dairy cattle and male dairy animals born after March 11, 2013, cattle used for rodeo and recreational events, cattle used for shows or exhibitions).

The proposal included the following timeline:

  • Beginning January 1, 2022, USDA would no longer approve vendors to use the official USDA shield in production of metal ear tags or other ear tags that do not include RFID components.
  • On January 1, 2023, RFID tags would become the only identification devices approved as an official ear tag for cattle.
  • However, USDA APHIS would recognize metal ear tags as official identification for cattle if in place before January 1, 2023.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association submitted comments that reflected current policy and input from members.

“Iowa’s beef cattle producers have been challenged with significant market disruptions, volatile cattle markets, extreme drought conditions, and more. With the financial implications and uncertainty surrounding data management and confidentiality, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association requests that USDA APHIS reassess their timeline for implementation of RFID use for cattle. We believe further research is needed to develop a fully-functional and effective animal disease traceability system.”

Read ICA’s complete comment here.