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Livestock Producers Learn About the New Animal ID System

The Issue

The USDA, in partnership with states, tribal nations and the private sector, continues development of an initiative to identify animals and track their movements as they enter commerce. The National Animal ID System (NAIS) is being developed to quickly control diseases in cattle, sheep, goats, bison, swine, poultry, horses, deer, elk, llamas, alpacas and other animals. Once fully implemented, within 48 hours of receiving a report about an ill animal, NAIS will be able to trace all places the animal has been and all animals it was near. The program will significantly reduce the potential spread of such harmful and economically significant infectious diseases as hoof and mouth, Johnnes, Scrapie, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (mad cow disease) and brucellosis.

In addition, NAIO will improve biosecurity protection of the national livestock population, distinguish animals vaccinated or tested under the USDA disease-control program, provide official identification for animals in interstate or international commerce and accurately identify blood and tissue specimens.

Currently the NAIS is voluntary, but it will likely become mandatory. Livestock producers, including small-scale producers and 4-H and FFA members, need to be familiar with NAIS and obtain an identification number for their premises.

What Has ANR Done?

UCCE advisors and specialists planned and conducted numerous educational workshops throughout the state to train livestock producers about the NAIS, providing information on the history of its development, the goals it hopes to achieve, the nuts and bolts of participation, how to get involved in improving the NAIS, the potential for value-added marketing for those voluntarily participating in the program, and the type of new technology that will be used. New technology includes electronic ear tags, electronic readers and computer record-keeping software.

The Payoff

Mendocino/Lake Livestock Producers Enroll in New Animal ID System

More than 60 producers attended the pilot workshop, organized for livestock producers in Lake and Mendocino counties. At the workshop, almost half the participants registered their ranches for a premise ID. Many of these Lake and Mendocino cattle producers are now participating fully in the animal ID program (which includes tagging their cattle with individual electronic ear tags as they leave their ranches) and are receiving a price incentive from 101 Auction, where they market their cattle. The price incentive, which varies based on cattle class, ranges from 5 to 7 cents per pound. For a 600-pound animal, producers would receive an incentive between $30 and $42. Since the tags cost just $2 to $3 each, the incentive represents a significant profit gain for ranchers.


Supporting Unit: Mendocino County

John M. Harper, UCCE Livestock & Natural Resources Advisor, Mendocino and Lake counties,(707) 463-4495, jmharper@ucdavis.edu