R-CALF USA Member & Affiliate Alert

To:                  R-CALF USA Members & Affiliates

From:            Bill Bullard, CEO

Date:              October 1, 2020


Background:  Recall that last fall we filed a lawsuit that stopped the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from mandating that every producer who ships adult cattle across state lines must register their premises with the federal government and begin using radio frequency identification (RFID) eartags by January 1, 2023.

Unfortunately, our successful lawsuit was a temporary victory. Recently, the USDA issued a notice stating it still intends to implement its mandate by January 1, 2023. This time, however, the USDA is at least providing an opportunity for U.S. cattle producers to comment on their proposal before it is implemented.

It is extremely important that cattle producers weigh in on USDA’s proposal to mandate both premises registration and RFID eartags for adult cattle shipped across state lines beginning January 1, 2023.

The deadline for submitting comments is one-minute before midnight, Eastern Time, on Monday, October 5, 2020.

Action:  Please go to www.regulations.gov and type in “use of radio frequency tags” and then click on “Comment Now!” and follow the directions as to how to submit your comments.    

Suggestions:  Be sure to state who you are, what you do, and where you live. Then tell them what you think of the government mandate that will require you to register your premises with the federal government and to exclusively use RFID eartags before you can ship cattle across state lines. You may want to talk about the costs to your operation, how this is government overreach, and how the use of RFID tags should remain voluntary.

To view the official RFID proposal by USDA, you can click on “Open Docket Folder,” which is just below the “Comment Now!” button.

Sample Comment you can cut and paste if you want to do it quick:

I am a cattle producer from __________ and I request that USDA withdraw its proposed mandate to force me to use RFID eartags and force me to register my premises with the government. This is government overreach at its worst. The proposal will force me to incur costs that the current cattle market cannot absorb, and it invades my rights to privacy. The regulations implemented in 2013 give me a choice among other less costly animal identification devices and the government should not be taking that choice away from me or any other American cattle producer.

Thanks for your help!  We’ll be in touch.

Note: Our RFID lawsuit is still ongoing even though the USDA withdrew its original RFID mandate. The part that is ongoing is our allegation that the USDA broke the law by relying on eartag manufacturers and other pro-RFID individuals to develop its RFID mandate in the first place.    

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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only lobbying and trade association representing U.S. cattle producers. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. Visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516 for more information.