The Michigan Ag Commission has mandated all cattle leaving the farm after March 1, 2007, be tagged with an electronic ear (EID) tag. The main impetus behind this ruling is Michigan's ongoing statewide bovine tuberculosis (TB) eradication program.

Michigan has TB in both its cattle herds and wild deer population. Being able to quickly and accurately track cattle movement is critical to regaining statewide TB-free status, officials say.

"The ability to track animals will also encourage other states to be as generous as possible when deciding if, and under what restriction, to allow our cattle into their states," says Ben Bartlett, DVM, Michigan State University livestock educator. "Therefore, we will have electronic tags and they will directly benefit Michigan's cattle industry by aiding in resolution of our TB problem."

This EID program is "not optional," he adds. -- Clint Peck