Chicago/ Politics & Govt
AI Assisted Icon
Published on May 24, 2024
USDA Makes Electronic Tags Mandatory for Cattle and Bison to Strengthen Disease TraceabilitySource: Molgreen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is stepping up its game in the animal disease prevention arena. On April 26, APHIS laid down the law for enhanced animal disease traceability (ADT) for some cattle and bison, as disclosed in a recent statement. This move aims to better track critters from the pastures to the slaughterhouse, hopefully putting a quicker end to any disease outbreaks.

Getting down to brass tacks, this new rule mandates the use of electronic identification tags as the official ID for all sexually intact cattle and bison that are 18 months or older, as well as for dairy cattle of any age, and cattle used in rodeos or exhibitions that cross state lines. These tags aren't just for show; they will have to be read both visually and electronically. The rule officially kicks in 180 days after its publication in the Federal Register, with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) set to announce the final date once it's a done deal, according to

The details don't stop there. The definition of 'dairy cattle' is getting a rewrite too. Now it will encompass all cattle, regardless of age, sex, or what they're currently used for, if they're of a breed used in producing milk or dairy products for human consumption. We're talking about the likes of Ayrshires, Brown Swiss, Holsteins, and Jersey cows, to name a few. Moreover, IDOA's Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare is handing out complimentary electronic 840 tags for the cattle and bison folks, helping them transition smoothly into this new system, as per

For those planning to showcase their livestock at the Illinois State Fair & Du Quoin State Fair, listen up: these electronic 840 tags are mandatory. Don't even think to show up without 'em. If you roll up tagless, it's on you to hit up the on-site vet, who'll issue a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and slap an 840 tag on your animal, but it's gonna cost you. Let this serve as a heads-up to avoid any fairground fiascoes, as reported by And remember, premises identification is a thing, too. It's a system that assigns unique numbers to agricultural locations, a tool the USDA can use to quickly pinpoint animal movements in case of a disease outbreak. For now, getting a Premises Identification Number is all voluntary and free of charge.