State-sponsored shows now in line with federal traceability standards


HARRISBURG, Pa. — Cattle or swine at this year’s three state-sponsored livestock shows must be identified with radio frequency or electronic identification tags that meet recently-tightened federal traceability standards, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture reminded residents this week.

The change, which was developed in 2013 and communicated in the premium books of the All American Dairy Show, Keystone International Livestock Expo, and Pennsylvania Farm Show for the past two years, is part of the commonwealth’s ongoing effort to improve biosecurity measures and to make the shows operate more efficiently. Other leading exhibitions like World Dairy Expo and breed associations like Holstein USA have adopted stronger traceability measures.

New requirement

The new RFID/EID eartag requirements apply beginning with the 2015 All-American Dairy Show, the 2015 Keystone International Livestock Exposition, and the 2016 Pennsylvania Farm Show. The tags must be approved for use in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Identification System program. These tags bear the official USDA eartag shield and a 15-digit identification number beginning with 840 – the official United States identification prefix.

Animals tagged and identified with other prefixes prior to March 11, 2015, cannot use those identifications to enter the show. All requirements apply to breeding stock as well as market animals, and for the two shows hosted in conjunction with the All-American: the Pennsylvania Holstein Fall Championship Show and the Pennsylvania Junior Dairy Show. Animals brought to the shows solely for sale at auctions that take place at these shows must also have the 840-numbered tags.

Using wands to read the electronic tags allows veterinarians and others to work further from the animals themselves, saving time and making the work of check-in safer, as well as easier to confirm the animals’ identification versus reading visual ear tags or tattoos and to write a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection after sales. RFID tags must correspond with the identification number recorded on the animal’s CVI.

The tags replace tattoos and the small metal state tags as the animal’s official state and federal identification, although the metal state tags remain an acceptable identification for interstate travel for other livestock. Tattoos are still required if the breed organization requires them for registration. Breed registration papers are still required for verification of animal information upon check-in at the show.


Tags will still be distributed through county Penn State Extension offices and FFA advisors. Allow six to eight weeks to obtain your premises number and tag order. Any form of tag featuring the 15-digit number beginning with 840 and featuring the USDA shield is an acceptable form of tagging. State departments of agriculture can assist.


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  1. When USDA was still pushing the federal NAIS, I asked if having a premise ID meant that government officials could enter my private property without permission or a warrant. I did not get a straight answer. To me, that means receiving a premises ID is also a surrender of private property rights. Say good-bye to the 4th amendment.
    “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”


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