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Lee Standley: ID policy for cattle at ownership change takes effect Jan. 1

A requirement for adult cattle in Texas to have an approved form of permanent identification in place at change of ownership will go into effect Jan. 1, according to the Texas Animal Health Commission.

The purpose is to enhance the effective traceability of beef cattle movements in Texas, which is the cornerstone of disease-control activities. The amended rule permanently cancels the brucellosis test requirement for cattle at change of ownership.

Although testing of adult cattle is no longer required, all sexually intact cattle — parturient or post parturient — or 18 months of age or older changing ownership must be officially identified with commission-approved permanent identification.

This change primarily affects beef cattle, as dairy cattle in Texas have had an even more stringent identification requirement in place since 2008.

A complete list of acceptable identification devices/methods can be found at, but the most commonly used devices include USDA metal tags, brucellosis calfhood vaccination tags, U.S. origin 840 series Radio Frequency ID tags and breed registration tattoos or fire brands.

Producers are encouraged to contact their veterinarian or TAHC to determine which method will be best for their operation.

Free metal tags and a limited number of free applicator pliers (dependent on available funding) will be provided by TAHC to producers wanting to use them. The tags and pliers can be obtained by contacting local TAHC field staff and USDA APHIS Veterinary Science representatives.

The TAHC is developing tag distribution partnerships with interested veterinary practitioners and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offices. Producers can locate the closest tag distributor online at

Frequently asked questions and acceptable forms of official identification are also available online. For more information, contact Pamela Hill or myself at 940-349-2880 or e-mail at

LEE STANDLEY is County Extension agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources for the Texas AgriLife Extension-Denton County. He can be reached at 940-349-2880.