OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — New rules for selling cattle in Washington are scheduled to take effect in October, hiking fees and nudging producers into using USDA-approved radio-frequency identification tags.
The Capital Press reports ranchers who use the “840” tags — a three-number international code for the U.S. — will be able to report sales online to the state Department of Agriculture.
The department hopes the convenience will motivate more cattlemen to use the tag. The 840 tags allow animal-health officials to track a cow from birth to slaughter.
The USDA intends to make 840 tags mandatory by 2023. The federal agency says tracking every cow will limit crippling trade sanctions if a livestock disease breaks out.
The 840 tags and online reporting will be voluntary, for now.