HELENA, Mont. (October 6, 2020) – Yesterday, Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) submitted comments regarding the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposal to implement the Use of Radio Frequency Identification Tags (RFID) as Official Identification in Cattle and Bison.
In the comments, MSGA stated its support of APHIS and the steps the agency has taken to enhance the capability to rapidly trace and contain diseased and exposed cattle but took the opportunity to address a number of issues and concerns prior to adoption of the regulation.
Some of the topics discussed in the comments were:
Concern among ranchers that RFID tags will not remain a “no-cost alternative” and the price of the tags will soon shift solely to the livestock producer. MSGA stressed the importance of developing a funding mechanism to be shared with states and livestock producers, prior to implementation.
MSGA’s request for additional information on the retention criteria, as our members have experienced above average loss rates.
MSGA members’ concerns over date privacy. MSGA requests USDA utilizes private and state databases for disease traceability information beyond the data points already collected through USDA programs to better ensure data confidentiality and protection against inappropriate disclosure.
Preservation of tattoo requirement due to official brucellosis vaccinated cattle being designated by an official ID and legible tattoo at the time of official vaccination.
Recommendation of MSGA that any proposed regulation does not undermine the need for and use of livestock brands.