Large volumes of cattle requiring official ID will primarily be found in livestock markets, which are feeling the brunt of the responsibility for ensuring qualifying cattle are properly ID’d prior to being transported interstate.

“When this process started, we knew our markets would likely bear the majority of the responsibility for implementation and compliance,” says Jody Donohue, Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) director of marketing and communication. “We believe the final rule is reasonable for market owners and producers to implement. The bottom line is that there will be some extra expense and extra steps we all have to take because of this rule. One thing that will minimize that expense and hassle is the allowance of backtags for cattle moving directly to slaughter.”

She adds this will continue to be a learning process that will require patience and flexibility from all sectors of the cattle industry as implementation is perfected. One beneficial trend is that many states are collaborating with neighboring states to build consensus and consistency across state lines.

Donohoe says she’s hearing of pushback in some regions of the country regarding the need to tag all dairy steers. “While we understand what USDA said in the final rule about the need for tagging, we have a number of members wondering if the extra time and expense is worth it on dairy steers since those are ultimately feeder animals. We’re watching and monitoring that aspect of the rule very closely,” she notes.

As things move forward and more states implement their own rules, Donohue encourages producers to be aware of their own state’s requirements. At the same time, she says LMA members are preparing to help farmers and ranchers comply when cattle are shipped, both within and outside state of origin.

“Farmers and ranchers need to comply with what is required in their own state. But a producer can’t be expected to try to anticipate what might be needed before they take their cattle to market. Our members are committed to helping their buyers and sellers deal with this,” Donohue says. She urges a cooperative attitude and patience across the industry to maximize success and reduce problems as all sectors learn to live with the new ADT rule.

Confidentiality of information

USDA says traceability information is maintained at the discretion of the states and tribal nations. The information systems used to support animal disease traceability are designed so information can be provided to USDA and other states/tribes when needed for animal disease programs, and follows secure data standards to ensure compatibility of all databases.

USDA says it believes producer information gathered through animal disease traceability efforts should be treated as information maintained under existing disease programs regulations. Therefore, it’s exempt from provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Heather Hamilton is a rancher and freelance writer based in Lance Creek, WY.


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