CDA: Radio Frequency Identification Livestock Ear Tags to Replace Metal Clips

BROOMFIELD, CO – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin offering the option of no-cost Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) ear tags to veterinarians and producers for use in young beef, dairy or bison breeding replacements.

The Animal Health Division of the Colorado Department of Agriculture will be responsible for distributing the no-cost RFID tags in Colorado and is finalizing a process to respond to RFID tag orders from cattle or bison producers and veterinarians.  The no-cost RFID tags are expected to be available for distribution in late March or April of 2020.

The free RFID tags will be offered as an alternative to the silver metal Brite tags and orange metal Official Calfhood Vaccination (OCV) tags. Orange metal or orange RFID OCV tags may only be used by accredited veterinarians for Brucellosis vaccination. The white RFID tags that USDA provides are targeted for use in young replacement breeding cattle that are not brucellosis vaccinates.

The metal clip tags have served a valuable purpose in disease control and eradication programs, and electronic tag technology will further enhance disease control by providing state animal health officials with real-time data in disease response on a daily basis.

“We don’t keep paper documents like Certificates of Veterinary Inspection or laboratory test results anymore,” said Colorado State Veterinarian Keith Roehr. “All of our livestock health data is kept electronically  in the USAHERDS database where it can be quickly searched during disease events.”

The electronic databases are used on a daily basis and are safe, protected from open records requests, and used exclusively for animal health and disease control purposes. Disease events that took days or weeks to search through paper information can be queried in a variety of ways in minutes.

Veterinarians and producers are encouraged to employ the new electronic means of managing individual beef, dairy, and bison identifications in their herd health systems. For more information, please contact Dr. Joe Menicucci, Colorado Department of Agriculture Traceability Veterinarian, at or 303-869-9130.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture exists to support the state’s agriculture industry and serve the people of Colorado through regulation, advocacy and education. Our mission is to strengthen and advance Colorado agriculture, promote a safe and high-quality food supply, protect consumers, and foster responsible stewardship of the environment and natural resources.

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.