USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced it would not implement its July 5, 2020 Federal Register Notice that would have required the use of radio frequency identification eartags on all adult cattle and bison moved in interstate commerce beginning January 1, 2023. While it begins official rulemaking, cattle producers can utilize traditional ear tags and brands as well as higher-cost technology such as RFID tags.

After reviewing 944 public comments on a July 2020 notice that proposed to approve RFID as the official eartag for use in interstate movement of cattle, APHIS says it 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.

“APHIS continues to believe that RFID tags will provide the cattle industry with the best protection against the rapid spread of animal diseases and will therefore continue to encourage the use of RFID tags while rulemaking is pending,” according to an agency notice to stakeholders.

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