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Radio frequency tags ID cattle

The state of Missouri is ranked 2nd in the nation in the number of cattle raised. Texas, with its vast acreage is the number 1 cattle producing state. But regardless of where a cow or a whole herd ends up, because of public and animal health concerns like Mad Cow and Foot and Mouth Disease, sometimes it becomes neccessary to find out exactly where certain cows have been. Mike Smith has this story about a program that Missouri Department of Agriculture officials say is "Crucial to keeping cattle producers in business".

The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced early in January, that livestock producers across the state can now register premises online with the Missouri Animal Identification Program, or MAIP, which according to State Veterinarian Dr. Taylor Woods is "the first step in establishing a national ID system.

Through valuntary premises registration with MAIP, a unique ID number will be assigned to locations where animals are born, managed, marketed, or exhibited. The ID numbers will then be programmed into RF transmitter tags about the size of a quarter that will then be placed in the left ear of the cows.

Taylor Woods says information gathered through registration will be used by the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the USDA for animal health purposes and to ensure that disease investigatons progress rapidly and efficiently.

Phase 2 of the program, actually placing the low frequency transmitter tags in the cattle, should begin in July of 2006. It's estimated the tags will cost between $1.75 and $3.00 each.

Phase 3 of the program will begin with the transport and monitoring of cattle tagged with the transmitters.

Agriculture officials say if a tagged cow arrives at a sale barn, feed lot, slaughter house or state fair, and is showing signs of illness, the location of origin can be quickly established and an investigation can quickly proceed.

Premises ID numbers can be obtained online at

www.mda.mo.gov. To recieve a printed registration form, call the Mo. Department of Agriculture's Aminal Health division at 573-751-7766.

For KSMU news, I'm Mike Smith.