Exhibitions for the summer of 2014 are right around the corner for many youth with swine projects in the state of Michigan. This year, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has asked that all pigs which will be shown have official individual animal identification, similar to other species including cattle and sheep. This will allow the swine species to comply with Public Act 466 of the Animal Industry Act and have them meet the stated guidelines within the act. By implementing this procedure, swine exhibitors and the state will be better prepared to respond to disease challenges by allowing for more complete traceability.
There are limited types of approved tags for official ID available to exhibitors. Included on the approved list of tag are:
- USDA 840 tags for swine - These types of tags have a unique 15-digit number beginning with 840, are tamper resistant, and bear the U.S. shield. A Premises Identification Number (PIN) is required to purchase ‘840’ tags or devices from the USDA approval suppliers.
- Metal NUES tags - Metal National Uniform Eartagging System (NUES) tags are available through MDARD at no cost. These tags include a non-repeatable number etched on them.
- Plastic NUES tags - The plastic National Uniform Eartagging System (NUES) tags are only available for fairs to order as a group. MDARD will provide these tags for fairs at no cost. A non-repeatable number is printed on the tags.
It is important to note that only fairs can order the plastic NUES tags as a bulk order. The fair will then be required to complete corresponding paperwork, including exhibitor name and address linked to each tag. A Premise Identification Number (PIN) will also need to be listed for each tag number. If an exhibitor does not have a PIN, a PIN will be assigned to the address that the exhibitor provides on the corresponding paperwork by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, once the paperwork is submitted. If office ID is needed for animals not exhibited at a county fair level (jackpots and state shows) the exhibitor is responsible for acquiring either a USDA 840 tag or ordering a metal NUES tag from MDARD. If the exhibitor orders the metal NUES tags from MDARD they will need to provide a PIN, however a PIN will be automatically assigned to the address when the order is placed if the exhibitor has not registered their premise.