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Rounds Introduces Legislation to Prevent Mandatory Electronic Tagging of Livestock

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today introduced legislation that would prevent federal government overreach on the operations of South Dakota farmers and ranchers. The bill would prevent the Secretary of Agriculture from implementing any rule or regulation requiring the mandatory use of electronic identification tags, or RFID tags, on cattle and bison.

In January 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published a proposal to require cattle and bison to have visually and electronically readable tags. This proposed rule would also require records to be entered into a tribal, state or federal database, allowing the federal government to access this information.

“South Dakota cattle producers don’t need DC bureaucrats telling them how to manage and track their livestock,” said Rounds. “USDA’s proposed RFID mandate is federal government overreach, plain and simple. I’m pleased to be introducing this legislation to block the Secretary of Agriculture from mandating the use of electronic tags in cattle and bison herds. If farmers and ranchers want to use electronic tags, they can do so voluntarily.”

This legislation is endorsed by the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, R-CALF USA and the U.S. Cattlemen's Association. 

“The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association applauds the efforts of Senator Rounds in introducing this bill to allow livestock producers the right to choose what form of ID they wish to use,” said Doris Lauing, Executive Director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association. “Whereas we have had ample protection and means to trace any animal health issues in the past, the mandatory direction by the United States government to use electronic animal ID tags will be a violation of constitutional personal property rights and unnecessary expense.”

“It’s nonsensical for the Secretary of Agriculture to complain that America is losing too many farmers and ranchers while simultaneously forcing America’s farmers and ranchers to purchase and use the most expensive form of animal identification available today - electronic identification ear tags,” said Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF USA. “These ear tags will cost the industry tens of millions of dollars without any means of recovery from the marketplace. This is government overreach at its worst and we’re thankful Senator Rounds is taking decisive action to protect the freedoms and liberties of America’s cattle producers by allowing them to continue choosing how to manage their cattle operations.” 

“USCA remains concerned about the addition of EIDs as an official form of identification for cattle crossing state lines, as noted in the final USDA APHIS rule," said Justin Tupper, President of the U.S. Cattlemen's Association. "Methods for livestock identification must work with, and not impede, the speed of commerce. Technology surrounding EIDs needs to evolve to meet the higher demands that will be required within the rule and Senator Rounds’ legislation provides the industry a means by which to address the current obstacles and ensure a workable solution is available for producers and sale barn owners in moving forward. USCA appreciates the continued work by Senator Rounds on behalf of independent farmers and ranchers across the country.”

Click HERE for full bill text.


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