Official Identification

Animal disease traceability, or knowing where diseased and at-risk animals are, where they've been, and when, is very important to ensure a rapid response when animal disease events take place. An efficient and accurate animal disease traceability system helps reduce the number of animals involved in an investigation, reduces the time needed to respond, and decreases the cost to producers and the government. 

Please refer below for information regarding tag use in specific species. For a printable educational handout, please click here. For instructions on how to apply RFID tags, click here.

Cattle and Bison

(Includes all animals of the Bos and Bison genus)

National Uniform Ear-tagging System (NUES)

  • NUES ear tags begin with an official state number followed by three letters and then four numbers. The official state number for Vermont is ’13’.
  • Metal NUES tags are provided at no cost to veterinarians, livestock dealers, and producers.
  • In compliance with federal law, NUES tags must display the U.S. shield if applied to the animal after March, 2015.
  • Orange brucellosis vaccination tags may only be used by accredited veterinarians in cattle and bison.

Silver metal NUES tag distributed to Vermont livestock dealers free of charge - Front

 

Silver metal NUES tag distributed to Vermont livetsock dealers free of charge - Back

Silver metal NUES tag for use by veterinarians in Vermont - Front

Metal silver NUES tag for use by veterinarians in Vermont - back

Animal Identification Number (AIN) - '840 Tags'

  • AIN ear tags begin with an official country code followed by an additional 12 digits; 15 digits in total. The official U.S. country code is ‘840’.
  • In compliance with federal law, AIN tags must display the U.S. shield if applied to the animal after March, 2015.
  • May be purchased from most ear tag distributors.
  • 15-character tags beginning with the letters ‘USA’ or manufacturer-coded tags beginning with any number between 900 – 998 are only official if applied to the animal prior to March, 2015.

RFID Button Tag

RFID Bangle Tag

The complete official tag number is 840 003 123 456 789. '12345' is a herd management number. 

American Identification Number

  • In compliance with federal law, these tags are only official if applied to the animal prior to March, 2015.
  • Combines ‘USA’ with 8 or 9 digits.
  • Includes the National Farm Animal Identification and Records (FAIR) administered by Holstein Association USA, Inc.
  • Click here for a list of tag numbers allocted to breed associations by USDA

AIN tag with truncated number.  The zeroes that would have made this a 15-digit number have been omitted from the tag . The complete number is USA 000 067 221 854. Official ONLY if applied prior to March, 2015. The large-type ‘1854’ is a herd management number.

Poultry

  • All chickens, turkeys and game birds at exhibitions, except baby poultry, must be identified with a leg band.
  • Leg bands are applied by Agency staff during testing for Pullorum or avian influenza.

 

Sheep and Goats

Official eartags must display the US shield. Free ear tags are available by calling 1-866-USDA-TAG or by ordering on-line.

Producer tags

  • Allow for interstate movement but are not part of the Certification Program.
  • Plastic Tag - Top character string is VTX followed by four numbers.The bottom character string is the individual animal ID.
  • Metal Tag - White tag, begins with state postal code (VT) followed by two letters and four numbers.

Flock Identification (ID) Tags

  • Part of the Scrapie Free Certification Program
  • Includes the flock ID number beginning with state abbreviation (maximum nine characters, including state abbreviation) along with a unique herd management number (maximum six characters)
  • Available in plastic or metal or RFID.

Official Tattoos

  • For any tattoo to be considered as official identification, it must be legible.
  • Registered Sheep/Goats: Breed registry tattoos that are recorded with a sheep or goat registry association. Upon movement, the animal must be accompanied by a copy of the registration certificate or a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection listing tattoo and registration numbers

Swine

National Uniform Ear-tagging System (NUES)

  • NUES ear tags begin with an official state number followed by two letters and then four numbers. The official state number Vermont is ‘13’.
  • Metal NUES tags are provided at no cost to veterinarians, livestock dealers, and producers.
  • In compliance with federal law, metal NUES tags must display the U.S. shield if applied to the animal after March, 2015.

Silver metal NUES tag for use in swine - free to dealers, veterinarians, and producers

Animal Identification Number (AIN) – ‘840’ tags

  • AIN ear tags begin with an official country code followed by an additional 12 digits; 15 digits in total. The official U.S. country code is ‘840’.
  • In compliance with federal law, AIN tags must display the U.S. shield if applied to the animal after March, 2015.
  • May be purchased from most ear tag distributors.
  • 15-character tags beginning with the letters ‘USA’ or manufacturer-coded tags beginning with any number between 900 – 998 are only official if applied to the animal prior to March, 2015

Tag Application