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Agriculture Today

Federal animal ID program begins March 11

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Wilson County News
March 6, 2013 | 4,514 views | Post a comment

Beginning Monday, March 11, cattlemen across the nation will begin implementation of the Animal Disease Traceability Framework. For Texas cattlemen, this is the second disease traceability program to be implemented since Jan. 1.

Several changes were made after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the proposed rules in August 2011, after receiving more than 1,600 public comments. According to the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, the changes include:

•Exemptions for certain classes of cattle, including cattle less than 18 months of age that are moved across state lines.

•The use of brands, tattoos, and brand registration as official identification methods.

•The allowance for the use of backtags for direct-to-slaughter cattle, if the animals are “to be slaughtered within three days of their movement to the slaughter plant.”

•The acceptance of alternative documentation other than just Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI) for all ages and classes of cattle.

•Beef cattle less than 18 months of age that are used for shows, exhibitions, rodeos, or recreational events are included in this regulation.

According to U.S. Cattlemen’s Association President Jon Wooster in a Dec. 20 press release, “The final ADT [animal disease traceability] rule is a result of a collaborative process that establishes a national system of tools and safeguards for effective disease response. ‘The enforcement phase will likely not be implemented for six to 12 months after the rule is implemented, which gives USDA time to work with states and tribes to develop their own policies and systems.’”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Chief Veterinarian Dr. Kathy Simmons said Jan. 9 that the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service “... listened to the voices of livestock producers when drafting this rule and the final product is one that will reduce the number of animals involved in an investigation, reduce the time needed to respond, and decrease the cost to producers.”

According to the USDA report, costs are estimated from $10.9 million to $34.4 million, assuming tagging is part of the identification process, with routine management practices or separately.

For more information regarding the federal rules, see Dec. 26, “National animal ID traceability regulations news,” or visit www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability.

State level

The state-mandated program only applies to sexually intact adult beef cattle 18 months and older and all ages of Mexican-origin cattle used for roping purposes, and dairy cattle.

Only animals transported from the farm or ranch to a slaughter facility are exempt from being tagged, because plant records are used for this purpose. If weak cattle or “downers” are taken to a market, the animal health inspector, in consultation with market ownership or management, can allow for an exemption or untagged status. These animals must be sold or consigned to a slaughter facility only.

Since the implementation of the state program Jan. 1, officials with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service have been distributing the free tags, as provided by the Texas Animal Health Commission. For more, see “State ID tag distribution.”

For more information regarding the state rules, see Dec. 12, “Tag! You’re it! Or are you?” or visit the Texas Animal Health Commission website at bit.ly/VkcAEO.

Another ID program?

Feeder cattle -- beef cattle less than 18 months of age -- are not included in the new national program, as originally proposed. They will be governed under separate rules.

The U.S. Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, along with an organization involved with the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, mentioned the separate ruling for feeders.

“We are very pleased that the western cattlemen’s concerns about recognizing brands and exempting feeder cattle were listened to,” said Gilles Stockton of Montana, a member of the Western Organization of Resource Councils, in a December press release. “With the USDA pledging to address feeder cattle in a separate rule rather than including it in this one, we will be better able to address the complicated issues.”

As the nation’s cattlemen implement the latest animal disease traceability plan, feedlot operators are anticipating yet another identification program.

Data needed for tags

The national and state programs both require identification tags. The following information is to be recorded by the appropriate parties, including:

•The name and address of the owner (or farm/ranch).

•The tag identification numbers issued.

•Date of distribution.

•The name and contact information of the person issuing the tags.

Distribution records or the records for the tagging of animals are to be maintained for a minimum of five years. If a rancher acquired a premises identification number in the past, this number is not needed or recorded when receiving the tags.

State ID tag distribution

For more information or to acquire state animal ID tags, contact:

•Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) Traceability Team at 1-800-550-8242, ext. 733, or visit bit.ly/VkcAEO

•TAHC Region 5 for ranchers in Wilson, Bexar, Karnes, and Atascosa counties, 361-358-3234

•TAHC Region 7 for ranchers in Guadalupe and Gonzales counties, 512-446-2507

The Texas AgriLife Extension Service office is also distributing the tags, including:

•Wilson County, 1420 Third St., Floresville, 830-393-7357. Note: pliers will soon be available to borrow on an “as-needed basis”

•Karnes County, 210 W. Calvert Ave., Karnes City, 830-780-3906

•Guadalupe County, 210 E. Live Oak, Seguin, 830-379-1972

•Gonzales County, 1709 E. Sarah Dewitt Drive, Gonzales, 830-672-8531

•Bexar County, 335 Cherry Ridge, San Antonio, 210-467-6575

•Atascosa County, 1003 Oak St. Jourdanton, 830-769-3066.

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