Indiana’s 840 RFID Tag Pilot Program


June 23, 2010

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) has announced its 840 RFID Tag Pilot Program, under the pilot program, the BOAH is offering FREE 840 RFID Tags for Hossier cattle producers.

The 840 RFID tags come in lots of 25 pieces; they are the yellow button type electronic tags, which are supplied by Allflex (An Approved USDA Vendor).

The tags used in the voluntary pilot program are for breeding cattle, under the age of 2 years. The free 840 RFID tags are only available to cattle producers. Exempt from the pilot program are feedlots, or breeding cattle that will be shipped out of state.

The objective of the Indiana’s tag pilot program is test usability, reliability, and longevity of the tags that remain in the state of Indiana over a long period of time. Initially this is to test the tag retention of Allflex 840 RFID tags.

You can view our post on tag retention, How To Improve RFID Ear Tag Retention for tagging tips.

An official list of Approved USDA Cattle Ear Tags: 840 Tags has all the approved 840 tags, which are visual tags and RFID tags.

Cattle producers must complete the 840 RFID Tag Request Form to be part of the pilot program. A premise ID is needed in order to participate, so tags can be linked to a specific location, which is the farm of origin.

840 tags can only be used in American born livestock. Under federal law, the removal of tags is unlawful once they have been tagged in livestock, because they are official U.S. Government Identification.

Why Are 840 RFID Tags being used in the pilot?

840 RFID tags provide additional reliability and integrity, because the tags use of electronic identification, as well as visual identification. The RFID tags can be scanned wirelessly with a RFID reader, and then the tag EID’s can be downloaded to livestock management software. Another reason to use RFID tags is to eliminate human error of reading tags, as well as the speed at which livestock can be identified.

The 840 RFID tags are also COOL (Country of Origin) compliant, which is another advantage of the tags.

Only the 840 RFID tags are available free with the pilot, RFID readers, software is not included, and is at the cost of the producers. RFID readers, and livestock software is not mandatory under the pilot, so producers can still apply for the free 840 tags, without an out of pocket expense.

For additional information on Indiana’s 840 RFID Tag Pilot, please visit their website. Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH)

© Copyright 2010 Livestock-ID


How to Improve RFID Ear Tag Retention


June 17, 2010

RFID ear tag retention is one of the most important physical elements of livestock ear tags. With most livestock agencies such as The USDA, and the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) retention is high priority on the scale for approving livestock ear tags, after material safety. This is the reason why only a few tag manufacturers are approved for use in livestock, versus the many other manufacturers on the market.

To improve tag retention there is some basic tag maintenance that should be performed before tagging livestock, such as cattle, bison, elk, deer, sheep, goats, and pigs.

The most important tip, is to use the correct tag applicator with the ear tags you are using, also you should be using the most current tag applicator, if the manufacturer had designed a newer version of the applicator, then you should be using the current version.

If the applicator allows you to change the tips, then this should be inspected and tips changed frequently. Worn out or bent tips in the applicator, makes it difficult to tag livestock correctly and efficiently, and will decrease tag retention.

If tagging livestock with an applicator and you feel movement as you apply the tag to the ear, chances are retention will not be good, and that tag will eventually will get removed from the ear.

Additional Tips to Improve RFID Tag Retention:



Make sure you are tagging the RFID ear tag in the correct location, as seen above.
Make sure you are using the correct applicator with the ear tag.
Make sure you are using the correct backing studs that came with the RFID ear tag


Following these tips, will improve RFID tag retention, these are steps that are often over looked.

© Copyright 2010 Livestock-ID


Saskatchewan Livestock RFID Rebate Program


June 14, 2010

The Saskatchewan Voluntary Livestock Traceability Rebate program started in October 2009. Under this RFID rebate program, Canadian cattle producers in Saskatchewan are eligible for a rebate up to 70% on all their expenses to set up their herd for RFID traceability, within the Canadian Livestock Tracking System.

This is an initiative by Saskatchewan to promote and enhance all livestock premises within the province to register their premises, and have a more proactive approach to RFID livestock traceability. The program is a voluntary livestock traceability program, participation in the program is not mandatory, although tagging their livestock with CCIA approved RFID tags, is mandatory for animal movements.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is the basis of the Canadian Livestock Tracking System.

With the voluntary livestock traceability rebate, Saskatchewan livestock producers have the chance to benefit with RFD technology. With this opportunity for a rebate, all livestock producers, auction marts, feedlots, backgrounders, veterinarian clinics, meat processors, fairs, exhibits, and managed community pastures are eligible for rebates up to 70% on all hardware, software, installation, and training that is involved in implementing a full RFID system on their premise.

Livestock producers, such as cattle, bison, sheep, pig, goat, and deer are eligible for a rebate of 70% up to the total amount of $50,000 per premise location. If a producer owns more than one premise, even with same registration name, each of the premises is eligible for the same rebate.

Auction marts, are eligible for the same rebate of 70% up to the total of $100,000 per premise location. For auction marts, there is no limit on the number of RFID readers per location, as long as it is within the $100,000 limit.

The following is a breakdown of the hardware, software, installation, and training services that are allowed with the RFID rebate program. All RFID readers, which are handhelds or fixed panel readers must be new, they can be purchased or leased.

Livestock Traceability software has a maximum rebate of $3,000. Software includes all cattle management software, from the simplest cattle management, to network based systems, with multiple user access. (We will go into details on the available cattle management software’s on the market, with reviews shortly.)

Ultra-rugged computers have a maximum rebate of $4,200. Computers should have a rating of IP-67, which means the computers are water proof, dust proof, and indestructible. Basically they are computers that can be used outdoors, and in extreme rough environments, such as conditions in a barn or feedlot. These computers or rugged laptops are like the Panasonic Tough Book series computers.

RFID Readers come in a wide variety of options, based on the user’s requirements. (We will provide a list shortly of all available RFID readers, and explain in detail the options on each style of reader.) This will be the hardest part of your traceability hardware, as there are so many options out there, from simple RFID stick readers, which just read the tag and transmit the tag EID to the software, to more sophisticated RFID readers, that can perform many options in the field.

RFID readers can be handheld readers, much like an Allflex stick reader, and they can also be a wand or paddle styled reader, like Destron.

Panel readers or fixed readers, are more suitable for feedlots, auction marts, and premise locations with high volume of traffic. Panel readers, will enable you to scan or read tagged cattle at a fast rate, much like when cattle go through a raceway or alleyway as they enter either the feedlot, auction mart, or tagging station.

Only CCIA Approved Readers are eligible for the RFID rebates. CCIA Approved RFID Tags are not included in the Voluntary Livestock Traceability Rebate.

More information on the RFID rebate program can be found at the Saskatchewan Voluntary Livestock Traceability Rebate website.

Below are the actual forms for the livestock traceability rebates.

FORM A: Rebate Application for General Applicants. (Producers)

FORM B: Facility Modification Claim for General Applicants. (Producers)

FORM A: Rebate Application for Auction Marts Only.

FORM B: Facility Modification for Auction Marts Only.

If you need additional information, and or need some advise on readers, the process, or general questions on the filing of the forms, you may contact myself by email (Listed on Contact Me on the blog) or by contacting the Saskatchewan Voluntary Livestock Traceability Rebate at 1-877-874-5365.


Animal Identification Methods: Livestock Ear Tags


June 07, 2010

Cattle Identification simply means being able to identify a specific cattle within the herd. In its simplest form, it is a means of animal identification for the rancher or cattle producer. Typically this is done with a visual cattle ear tag, tags like Y-tex All American tags, Allflex Ultra Maxi tags, Destron visual tags, and so on.

Usually the cattle producer assigns a number to the tag, either with a scrapie or equivalent permanent marker. This is internal cattle identification for ranch management purposes. The visual tags can also be pre printed from the supplier, and with the logo of the ranch. The cattle rancher usually provides the animal management number sequence and or logos to the tag distributor, which does the printing on the visual tags.

This is a form of Animal Identification, but as an internal livestock management system for herd management, which is usually just for the cattle producer.

An additional cattle ear tag is needed which would then comply with local or state by laws for livestock identification. This would have to be an official 840 ear tag approved by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). The official 840 ear tags come in either Visual or panel tags and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) button tags.

The 840 tags have the US shield logo and stamped “UNLAWFUL TO REMOVE”. The 840 on the tags indicate it is livestock from the US, the number of 840 on the international level is the number assigned to the United States for all livestock from Cattle, Sheep, Goat, Pigs, Llama, as well as wildlife animals like Deer and Elk.

Since all USDA approved tags bear the 840 number on them, whether they are visual or RFID ear tags, they are also compliant with COOL (Country of Origin Label), which is mandatory in the United States.

Livestock producers must sign up and register their premises for a premises identification number. The Premises ID is then associated with the approved 840 tags, which is actually the simplest form of animal identification. The ear tag distributor must assign the premises id with the 840 tags, and then register the tag info in a tag database, to indicate that (tags 840.121345678910 was associated with the Premises ID # ABC123).

Livestock ear tags come in different shapes, forms, sizes and colors for all livestock. Livestock ear tags for sheep and goats are usually smaller than the cattle ear tag.

This is the official list of USDA Approved 840 Cattle Tags.

This is list official for Canada Approved Canadian Cattle Ear Tags.

This would be the basic form of Animal Identification in Livestock on all farms in the US.


Canada Ends Bar Coded Livestock Ear Tags


June 04, 2010

Reminder to all Canadian cattle producers, Effective July, 1 2010 all cattle and bison must be tagged with the CCIA Approved RFID Ear Tags. Bar coded dangle tags are not to be used any longer. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will be enforcing the new regulations, which had been in effect since January 2009.

The Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) had made the official release to the public on May, 31 2010. This applies to Cattle and Bison in Canada, once they leave their farm of origin. All livestock must be tagged with the approved RFID tag, before leaving the premises of the farm.

Canadian cattle producers, had been given a grace period, so they could use their current bar coded livestock ear tags, but now the official notice had been given.

Here is a full list of the CCIA Approved RFID Ear Tags, which is also available at the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency website (

With the full support of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canada’s livestock industry needs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), in order to have a fully effective traceability system.

Additional benefits of RFID technology, is the speed and accuracy of identification, which ultimately affects the bottom line of the beef cattle industry, making Canadian cattle more competitive on the world market.

Effective July, 1 2010, all cattle producers must use the mandatory approved RFID ear tags. Bar coded livestock ear tags are no longer to be used.


About This Blog

Livestock-ID: Animal Identification Resources, is a blog dedicated to helping producers and professionals with the various types of Animal Identification. From RFID wand readers, to cattle management software. Providing tips and how to articles from A to Z.

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