Tennessee Readies for Federal Livestock Traceability Rule

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 | 08:46 am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is stepping up efforts to educate livestock farmers about USDA’s final Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rule that requires the identification of livestock being transported across state lines.

The rule, which went into effect last year, provides an effective manner of tracing the movement of livestock for animal disease protection and response says state veterinarian Charles Hatcher, DVM. 

“The federal rule only applies to livestock being moved interstate, but it’s important that Tennessee farmers work with their local veterinarian to obtain proper documentation,” Hatcher said. “We want to ensure that Tennessee farmers continue to have access to markets and that we can move quickly to limit the spread of a disease in the event of an outbreak.”

The ADT rule requires livestock moved interstate, unless specifically exempted, to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates. The rule applies to all livestock including cattle, equine, sheep and goats, swine and poultry.

Brands, tattoos and brand registration can also be used as official identification when accepted by the shipping and receiving states. Backtags are accepted as an alternative to official eartags for cattle moved directly to slaughter.

In order to conform to the rule, TDA will conduct routine compliance checks of livestock being transported beginning in 2015 following a period of outreach to farmers and stakeholders. “As we work with other states and USDA to strengthen our traceability efforts, we want Tennessee livestock producers to be prepared for this important change,” Hatcher said.

Animal health documentation is still required by the state under certain circumstances for livestock being moved within Tennessee. Additionally, some states have documentation requirements that go beyond the federal rule so producers should make sure that livestock moving interstate also comply with the receiving state’s requirements.

TDA is working to implement a user-friendly online system already adopted by 20 other states that will allow private veterinarians to submit and access documents electronically in order to help with compliance. Veterinarians interested in participating should contact the State Veterinarian’s office at 615-837-5120 or animal.health@tn.gov.

For more information about the ADT rule and traceability requirements visit USDA’s website at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability/.  For more information about Tennessee’s animal health programs and requirements, visit www.TN.gov/agriculture and look for the Animal Health Information link.