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Animal ID

Are you looking for a little help and direction to implement an animal identification system into your cattle operation?

The creator of an online blog dedicated to addressing this issue hopes he can be a resource in your search for answers.

“Animal identification is one of the most important aspects of our food supply chain,” says George Luker, the creator of Livestock-ID, Animal Identification Resources. “It is more than just an asset. It is a necessity of public health.”

Over the past 10 months, Luker, a well-known figure in the radio frequency identification (RFID) industry and a former senior sales executive of an RFID manufacturing company, has been providing information on animal identification geared toward the ag market. His blog not only includes lists of official 840 ear tags but also has the latest news about what's occurring in the industry.

Luker has consulted, free of charge, with beef cattle producers on current RFID technology and has outlined the potential benefits producers can realize in their operations.

A new plan

Luker's efforts come on the heels of the government's attempt to create a new and improved animal ID plan. The focus and objective of the new program will be animal disease traceability.

Initial work on an animal disease identification system dates back to the 1990s. In 2003, after the U.S. discovered three cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly called mad cow disease, the traceability system was seen as a necessity.

However, the previous system failed because many livestock producers were opposed to a mandatory program. Their concerns stemmed not only from cost but also from privacy issues. They wanted a volunteer-only system.

Even though the USDA considered a voluntary system, it realized there would have been minimal participation, which ultimately defeats the purpose of an animal traceability program.

As the new plan is developed, many producers will have questions. Luker hopes his blog will be a tool cattle producers can turn to for guidance. 

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George Luker

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