Extension Agent: Cattle traceability rules revisited

By Peter J. McGuill
Jan. 8, 2013 at midnight
Updated Jan. 7, 2013 at 7:08 p.m.

Peter McGuill

Peter McGuill

The new Texas cattle traceability rules are now in effect as of Jan. 1.

I first wrote about these new requirements a couple of months ago, but many questions regarding this requirement persist.

According to the Texas Animal Health Commission, the regulatory agency in Texas that is charged with protecting the health of all livestock in the state, "All sexually intact cattle, parturient, post parturient or 18 months of age and older changing ownership must be officially identified with commission-approved permanent identification."

The purpose of this change is to ensure that a mechanism is in place to trace livestock back to the previous owner in the event of an animal disease confirmation in an effort to rapidly address and confine the potential reach of the disease issue.

According to the Texas Animal Health Commission, 30 brucellosis reactors, more than 300 bovine trichomoniasis affected bulls and 22 bovine tuberculosis cases have been investigated by the commission in 2012. The ability to effectively investigate and mitigate the effects of serious disease outbreaks in a rapid manner is difficult without some type of animal identification.

The Texas Animal Health Commission has listed several acceptable identification devices or methods; however, the most common method employed by commercial cattle producers will be the use of a Texas Animal Health Commission provided United States Department of Agriculture metal ear tag. These tags are to be placed in the ear of cattle meeting this requirement prior to sale, either through private treaty or through the local livestock commission or sale barn.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has agreed to assist cattle producers by partnering with the Texas Animal Health Commission to make available free USDA metal tags, provided by the Texas Animal Health Commission, to producers wishing to use them. The tags may be obtained by contacting area Texas Animal Health Commission field staff and USDA APHIS Veterinary Services representatives or the County Extension Office. Producers may also locate the closest tag distributor online at tahc.state.tx.us.

Numerous tags have already been distributed through our office, and we will continue to provide tags, answer questions regarding this traceability effort and provide other educational assistance when requested. Give me a call at the extension office if you have any questions or need more information relating to this program.

Upcoming continuing education for pesticide applicators

Victoria County is home to 621 Texas Department of Agriculture licensed private, commercial and non-commercial applicators.

Many of these licenses will expire in 2013 and a large portion of those will expire Feb. 28.

To renew a private applicator license, the applicator is required to complete 15 continuing education units within the five-year period that the license is active.

The Wharton, Matagorda and Colorado County offices of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service will be conducting several events in January that will offer continuing education units.

For more information on these events, call the extension office in Wharton County at 979-532-3310, Matagorda County at 979-245-3310 or Colorado County at 979-732-2082.

Peter J. McGuill is the Victoria County extension agent-ag and natural resources. Contact him at 361-575-4581 or pjmcguill@ag.tamu.edu.



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