USDA Proposed Rule for Traceability of Livestock Moving Interstate

FARFA and 48 other organizations request an extension to the public comment period.


Below is an outline of some of the key provisions and definitions from USDA’s new proposed rule. References are to the section numbers in the proposed rule.

Basic rule: No person may move covered livestock interstate or receive such livestock moved interstate unless the livestock meet the requirements of new Part 90. (Sec. 90.2)

General exemptions:

  • Movement occurs entirely on Tribal land and Tribe has its own traceability system; or
  • Movement is to a custom slaughter facility for preparation of meat for personal consumption (not for sale) (Sec. 90.2)

Record keeping requirements:

  • States, tribes, vets, and anyone else who “distributes official identification devices” must maintain records of the names and addresses of the people they were distribute to for 5 years;
  • Sales barns and other “approved livestock facilities” must keep interstate certificates of veterinary inspection (ICVIs) of any covered livestock that enter their facility for 5 years. (Sec. 90.3)


Cattle and Bison

Identification is required anytime a cow is moved interstate, except:

  • commuter herd, under an approved agreement;
  • moved directly from State A through State B and back to State A;
  • moved directly to an approved tagging site and are identified at that site before commingling;
  • moved with another form of ID (including brands, tattoos, and breed registry certificates) if the shipping and receiving states have an agreement
  • In Phase 1, may be moved directly to slaughter with a USDA-approved back tag (Sec. 90.4(b)(1))

Phase 1: Covered cattle and bison include:
• All sexually intact cattle and bison 18 months or older
• Dairy breed cattle of any age (includes both males and females)
• Cattle and bison used for rodeos, exhibitions, or shows

Phase 2: After an evaluation by USDA and an advisory body, all cattle and bison will be included in the program.

What sort of identification must be used? (Sec. 90.4(a)(1))

  • Official eartag (see definition of “official eartag” below), or
  • Group ID

Cattle and bison moving interstate must be accompanied by an ICVI, unless

  • Moved directly to slaughter and accompanied by an owner-shipper statement;
  • Moved directly to an approved livestock facility with an owner-shipper statement and do not move interstate from that facility unless accompanied by an ICVI;
  • Go to the vet and come back without change in ownership;
  • Moved directly from State A through State B and back to State; A;
  • Commuter herd under approved commuter herd agreement;
  • If under 18 months of age, can be moved with other documentation (e.g. brand inspection certificate) as agreed upon by animal health officials in the shipping and receiving states
  • Official ID number must be recorded on ICVI unless:

o Moved directly from approved facility to slaughter, or
o Under 18 months of age or steers or spayed heifers (but this does not exempt any diary cattle, or any cattle used in shows, rodeos, exhibitions)

(Sec. 90.5(c))



Poultry moving interstate must be officially identified prior to interstate movement or identified as agreed upon by the States or Tribes involved in the movement (Sec. 90.4(b)(5)).

What sort of identification must be used?(Sec. 90.4(a)(3))

  • A sealed and numbered leg band, or
  • Group ID (see definition of group ID below)

Poultry moved interstate must have an ICVI, unless

  • From an NPIP-participating flock & accompanied by the appropriate documentation for the NPIP
  • Moved directly to slaughter
  • Moved to vet care and back to the farm without change of ownership, or euthanized at the vet facility
  • Moved directly from State A through State B and back into State A
  • Moved with a VS Form 9-3 or other documentation as agreed by the shipping and receiving states
  • Moved under a permit under Chapter 82 (Sec. 990.5(g))



Horses must be identified when moved interstate or per an agreement among the States/Tribes “involved in the movement” (Sec. 90.4(b)(4)).

  • If being commercially transported to slaughter, must be identified in accordance with part 88

What sort of identification must be used?(Sec. 90.4(a)(2))

  • Physical description “sufficient to identify” the horse, “as determined” by “a State or Tribal animal health official in the State or Tribe of destination or APHIS representative”, or
  • Electronic ID that meets ISO standards, or
  • Digital photographs, or
  • If going to slaughter, a device approved under part 88

An ICVI is required whenever a horse is moved interstate(Sec. 90.5(f))

  • Can be other documentation as agreed to by the shipping and receiving “States or Tribes involved in the movement”


Sheep, goats, and hogs:

The new rule refers back to the existing scrapie and swine programs, essentially “federalizing” the requirements that USDA has urged states to adopt state-by-state.


Key definitions:

(Sec. 90.1)

• Approved livestock facility: A stockyard, livestock market, buying station, concentration point, or any other premises under State or Federal veterinary inspection where livestock are assembled and that has been approved under §71.20 of this chapter

• Commuter herd: a herd of cattle or bison moved interstate during the course of normal livestock management operations and without change of ownership directly between two premises, as provided in a commuter herd agreement

• Commuter herd agreement: A written agreement between the owner(s) of a herd of cattle or bison and the animal health officials for the States or Tribes of origin and destination specifying the conditions required for the interstate movement from one premises to another in the course of normal livestock management operations and specifying the time period, up to 1 year, that the agreement is effective. A commuter herd agreement may be renewed annually.

• Covered livestock: Cattle and bison, horses and other equine species, poultry, sheep and goats, swine, and captive cervids.

• Dairy cattle: all cattle, regardless of age or sex or current use, that are of a breed(s) typically used to produce milk or other dairy products for human consumption

• Directly: without unloading en route if moved in a mans of conveyance and without being commingled with other animals, or without stopping, except for stops of less than 24 hours that are needed for food, water, or rest in route if the animals are moved in any other manner

• Group/lot identification number (GIN): The identification number used to uniquely identify a “unit of animals” of the same species that is managed together as one group throughout the preharvest chain.

• Interstate certificate of veterinary inspection (ICVI): An official document issued by a Federal, State, Tribal, or accredited veterinarian at the location from which animals are shipped interstate. Full definition includes a long list of items that must be on the ICVI

• Livestock: All farm-raised animals.

• Official eartag: An identification tag approved by APHIS that bears an official identification number for individual animals. Beginning [Insert date 1 year after effective date of final rule] all official eartags applied to animals must bear the U.S. shield. The design, size, shape, color, and other characteristics of the official eartag will depend on the needs of the users, subject to the approval of the Administrator. The official eartag must be tamper-resistant and have a high retention rate in the animal.

• Official identification device or method: A means approved by the Administrator of applying an official identification number to an animal of a specific species or associating an official identification number with an animal or group of animals of a specific species or otherwise officially identifying an animal or group of animals.

• Official identification number: A nationally unique number that is permanently associated with an animal or group of animals and that adheres to one of the following systems:

(1) National Uniform Eartagging System (NUES).
(2) Animal identification number (AIN).
(3) Location-based number system.
(4) Flock-based number system.
(5) Any other numbering system approved by the Administrator for the official identification of animals.

• Officially identified: Identified by means of an official identification device or method approved by the Administrator.

Check back in early September 2011 for additional analysis and sample comments.