The Federal government is the final stages of preparing to implement the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) which will use livestock ear tags (primarily Radio-frequency identification (RFID) type), instead of branding, to denote ownership. A driving factor behind this effort - the tags will facilitate the rapid geo-tracking of livestock in the event of disease outbreaks such as bovine brucellosis, tuberculosis and mad cow. To learn more, click the link below to read an article from the New York Times:
Comment: As citizens of one of the Nation's leading agricultural states, where livestock health is worth more than $4.5 billion to the state's annual economy, Minnesotans will have significant interest in how this development plays out. While the disease tracking intent is well placed, many have concerns about the program's affordability for small farmers, as well as civil liberties related issues.
Also of note:
- The Minnesota Board of Animal Health already has in place tagging standards for the interstate transfer of cattle and bison,
- Minnesota is home to one of the major producers of livestock RFID tags, and
- The future of where this all goes is probably best related by developments in Uruguay.