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EID Concerns

EID Concerns

Ag group concerned about electronic identification


News Staff - February 3, 2018

RAPID CITY, S.D. - While most producers track their cattle with ear tags or brands, a new mandate would require that all cattle are identified with a small electronic tag.

Right now, producers can electronically identify animals voluntarily and have the opportunity to receive premiums from packers.

The government would require all cattle to wear the electronic tag with the cost burden falling on the producers.

R-Calf USA CEO Bill Bullard says this would also take away the opportunity to earn a return on premiums because everyone would have them rather than the voluntary few. This mandate may eliminate economic opportunities for cattlemen in the United States but could allow beef trade to be opened with China.

Bullard says the government favors the proposed mandate because it would be easier to trace cattle in the case of a disease outbreak, however, he disagrees.

"We have had tuberculosis outbreaks in the country and we have been able to trace them back to their origin. Most of those cases, of course, have originated in Mexico," said Bullard, "Our position is, let's maintain our border restrictions so that we do not continue to further allow potentially diseased animals into the United States to further infect our herd."

Bullard says while the mandate would allow trade with China, the ability to trace meat would likely not be used in the united states for systems like Country of Origin Labeling.



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