MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Many Wisconsin dairy farmers are already in line with new federal program aimed at helping agriculture officials quickly track livestock in cases of disease.
The rules that went into effect March 11 require dairy cows to be registered when they are shipped over state lines and outline acceptable forms of identification. Most farmers are likely to use ear tags that assign a number to each animal.
Mark Diederichs is president of the Board of Directors of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. He and his partners began using electronic ear tags on their cows eight years ago.
He says it saves time because workers with hand-held devices can scan the tags and immediately pull up animals' records.
Diederichs says many of the state's other, larger dairies also are using them.
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The federal government has started a new livestock identification program to help agriculture officials quickly track livestock in cases of disease.
The program replaces an earlier, voluntary one that failed because of widespread opposition among farmers and ranchers who described it as a costly hassle that didn't help control disease.
The new program is mandatory but more limited in scope. It applies only to animals being shipped across state lines and gives states flexibility in deciding how animals will be identified.
Abby Yigzaw is a spokeswoman for the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. She says the program is important because it lets officials quickly identify animals that must be quarantined, and that means healthy ones can keep going to processing facilities without an interruption in the food supply.