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Sheep Identification

Individual animal identification is important for record keeping and data collection to better manage animal performance and management of animals. Animal identification is the primary element of any livestock traceability system.

Most sheep and goats moving in commerce must have official scrapie tags.

To purchase official scrapie ear tags, your flock must have a flock ID number. You must provide it to the tag company when you order tags.

Are You New to the Sheep and Goat Identification Program? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide up to 100 plastic flock ID tags free-of-charge to first-time participants (as long as funds last).

Please call 1-866-USDA-Tag (866-873-2824) to request a flock ID number or to place a first-time tag order.

Electronic ID

Electronic identification (EID) also referred to as Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is becoming increasingly popular for the livestock sector. EID systems use Radio Frequency (RF) technology to read and transmit animal identification numbers wirelessly.

Electronic ID Transition Working Group

Animal identification and animal disease traceability systems are hot topics in the livestock community today.

Concerned that the USDA will at some future time impose a plan of their own for the sheep industry, in 2020, the ASI Animal Health Committee convened a small working group of diverse and knowledgeable industry representatives and subject matter experts to develop a blueprint for transitioning the sheep industry toward electronic ID. The group is led by ASI Animal Health Committee Co-Chairs, Dr. Jim Logan and Dr. Cindy Wolf.

ASI Video Looks at EID in Auction Markets

As sheep producers all around the United States research the merits and cost effectiveness of using electronic identification within their own flocks, the American Sheep Industry Association is looking at the steps necessary to incorporate EID in the nation’s auction markets.

Working through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, ASI led a pilot program this spring at the Delta (Colo.) Sales Yard to evaluate the feasibility of integrating an EID system for sheep in an auction market setting, as well as what benefits it might provide to federal and state animal health officials, and sheep producers. Most of the approximately 2,000 auction markets in the United States are not currently equipped to use EID on a daily basis.

Sheep Identification & Animal Disease Traceability Systems Survey

In 2021, ASI conducted an online survey of more than 500 sheep producers to gather information on industry animal ID practices and perceptions regarding a national animal disease traceability system. Read more about the survey in the links below.

Historical Efforts

Sheep Identification Working Group 2004

A group of industry leaders, led by Dr. Cindy Wolf, co-chair of the ASI Animal Health Committee, convened to develop a well-defined implementation phase-in plan for sheep identification that is consistent with the established standards and goals of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

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