Slowdown on RFID Tags

Mandatory Radio Frequency Identification Tags for Cattle Out for Now

Victoria G Myers
By  Victoria G. Myers , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Interstate movement of cattle may require radio frequency identification tags one day, but for now, USDA has paused implementation of the program. (DTN/Progressive Farmer file photo by Jim Patrico)

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) called off implementation of a rule by Federal Register Notice that would have made the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) for the interstate movement of cattle mandatory as of Jan. 1, 2023.

R-CALF USA noted in a news release it sent out on the issue that it had submitted formal comments arguing the RFID notice was unlawful and the only way the agency could change current law was through a formal rulemaking process. The APHIS announcement indicated it intended to do just that.

APHIS noted that, after 944 public comments on the notice published in the Federal Register in July 2020, USDA "has decided to use the rulemaking process for future action related to this proposal. This means that the original notice will not be finalized and that all current APHIS-approved methods of identification may be used as official identification until further notice."

Bill Bullard, R-CALF CEO, said the announcement was "good news for U.S. cattle producers as it means the impending threat of a costly RFID mandate is now removed, but we must not stop defending the rights of producers because it's clear the agency fully intends to continue efforts to force this costly mandate upon America's independent cattle producers."

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), contacted by DTN to comment on the APHIS announcement, provided the following statement, attributed to Ethan Lane, vice present of government affairs for the association: "NCBA is pleased to hear that, although USDA has decided to revisit the ongoing rulemaking on RFID for animal disease traceability, they have reaffirmed their commitment to the end goal and indicated their intent to move the process forward."

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Victoria Myers