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Fox: Support HB 1096

If one wants a credible animal disease traceback system, then HB 1096 is the vehicle to obtain this goal. Contrary to what Mr. Jennings said in last week’s Tri-State Livestock News, this bill will not limit the Animal Industry Board’s authority to establish the type of identification methods required in South Dakota.

To my knowledge, no state funds are currently used to enforce a mandatory electronic ear tag regulation or ever have been. Most of the funding if not all comes from USDA/APHIS for the purposes of animal disease tracking. I applaud the state of Wyoming for passing similar legislation last year.

HB 1096 allows for producers to choose which form of official ID they want to use , orange metal Brucellosis clip tags, silver metal “Brite Tags” clip tags, RFID Tags, paper back tags, registered brands accompanied with a brand inspection certificate from a recognized brand inspection authority and breed registration tattoos. HB 1096 is a mirror of the 2013 USDA ADT rule which states: “ A livestock owner may choose to identify animals using any methods set forth in 9 C.F.R. part 86, as adopted on January 9, 2013”.



Much has been touted about how a mandatory RFID ear tag system for cattle will improve the current animal disease tracking capabilities of the SD Animal Industry Board. I beg to differ with those people and organizations who promote a mandatory electronic animal disease tracking system. Aren’t they the same people and organizations who claim to say they oppose government mandates such as mandatory country of origin labeling and the 50/14 spot market protection bill? Most everyone I have talked to or read about that has or is using RFID tags has told me that tag retention is a huge problem.

One producer whose family runs a 5,000 head cow/calf operation has kept track of tag retention for a number of years and at the end of the 8th year only 14 percent of the tags remain. Couple this with a 7 percent error read rate and how is the Animal Industry Board going to have a credible disease tracking system?



I have always maintained that multiple forms of official ID is better than putting all of our eggs in one basket with only one official ID because when one fails another picks up. In fact the United States Animal Health Association has a resolution that calls for the use of metal clip tags to be used in conjunction with RFID tags for cattle destined for export because if one tag falls out of the ear of one animal in a lot destined for export the whole lot is condemned.

The RFID tags cost about 2-3 dollars per tag. Who is going to pay for the RFID ear tags and readers? Currently the metal clips tags cost about ten cents apiece and are supplied by USDA to the producers at no cost. On the other hand who is going to profit from an electronic ear tagging system? Those who manufacture RFID ear tags and readers are the ones who stand to profit immensely at the expense of producers. Getting the horse before the cart when it comes to mandating RFID tags without proper testing is dangerous especially when it pertains to the health of the South Dakota cattle herd.

Another very important reason to support HB 1096 is we have had one of our members forced to use RFID tags without his permission and knowledge when he sold his bred heifers last year at a local auction barn. He was also charged for the RFID tags and the labor to install the tags. Needless to say he was not very pleased with this situation.

I call on all SD cattle producers to email, text or call you representatives in the SD House of Representatives to vote for HB 1096. Wyoming has passed this legislation, Nebraska and Iowa have pending legislation in their respective legislatures.

Kenny Fox

SDSGA Animal ID Committee Chair

Belvidere SD

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