Traceability: What USDA’s New Rule Proposal Means for Producers

Dan Beef, Cattle, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA)


By: Southeast AgNet intern, Will Jordan

Traceability is the word at this year’s Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Producers, experts, and industry affiliates are gathered to discuss policy and directives for NCBA’s staff to focus on in 2023. Among other issues discussed, a recurring theme is implementation of more effective disease traceability for the cattle industry.

While disease traceability has been around for years, updated technology has allowed for improved response time should an animal disease outbreak occur.

Current metal ear tags offer about 30% accuracy in animal identification, lacking the efficacy of EID technology, according to Dr. Nancy Jackson, DVM.

Traceability: What USDA’s New Rule Proposal Means for Producers

These talks come on the heels of USDA’s proposed rule that amends the current U.S. animal disease traceability regulations, requiring that new tags shall be visually and electronically readable. In other words? Electronic identification (EID) tags.


During the NCBA Region II meeting on Tuesday, January 31, southeastern producers heard from NCBA leadership as to what this means for their operations.

The two key points of this new rule are “it no longer says mandatory RFIDs… the rule simply says Electronic Identification” preventing innovation from being stifled by burdensome regulatory language, says Tanner Beymer, NCBA Senior Director of Government Affairs, “on the negative side of the equation… any animal born on a dairy has to be electronically identified to move interstate, regardless of age, sex, or classification.”

“The reason behind that is because of the production practices and not the genetics,” noted Beymer, “that’s an issue were going to have to address as we see beef genetics being used on dairies to add value to some of those cows that they don’t want to use as replacements.”