Good News on Electronic Animal ID

Published on February 3, 2021

Thanks to an executive order, the USDA’s plan to mandate electronic ID for cattle has been put on hold … at least for now.

Last summer, we alerted our members that the USDA was proposing mandatory electronic ID for cattle through an informal “policy” decision. The cost of electronic IDs, and all the related infrastructure, would pose undue costs on small farms, threatening their future. But by avoiding the normal rulemaking process, the USDA also dodged the normal requirements to do a cost-benefit analysis and identify the impacts on small businesses.

You can read FARFA’s comments to USDA , outlining the many problems with the agency’s proposal.

President Biden’s Executive Order 5 put a halt to rules and regulations that were not yet finalized, pending review by new Administration appointees. While the Animal ID plan was not officially a rule, the executive order also covers “any agency statement of general applicability and future effect that sets forth a policy on a statutory, regulatory, or technical issue or an interpretation of a statutory or regulatory issue.” We’ve obtained confirmation from the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) that the Animal ID proposal was withdrawn.

This is excellent news! But the fight is not over. Just as when we stopped the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) back in 2010, we know that many powerful players, both within and outside the agency, still want to move to a mandatory, all-electronic system for Animal ID. Their plans are designed to benefit large-scale agriculture’s export market, at the expense of small-scale farmers and our ability to rebuild local and regional food systems. Stay tuned – we will need you to speak up again. 

Read the executive order: