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Vermont Farm Utilizes Latest Technology To Identify Livestock

February 2, 2021

The cows at Kenyon’s are getting fit with a new piece of hardware.

“We’re kind of transitioning to the computer age and using technology more so it’s and easy way to be able to keep track of your cows,” said Hanna Martini, Kenyon’s Farm.

Martini is helping Doug Kenyon and his Waitsfield farm utilize new technology to improve record keeping and keep better track of his cattle. Each cow on the farm is now being equipped with a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag. The new tag is a small button that contains an embedded microchip attached to the ear of the cow. Each tag and chip have the same unique 15-digit number—one for visual identification and one to use with an electronic reader. Workers can scan the ear tag with a handheld RFID reader, and that information is then sent from the reader to a handheld device that holds all the data on each individual cow.

“We will furnish the farm the RFID tags to get started,” said Jim Cameron, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.

Cameron has worked with Kenyon’s to acquire RFID tags supplied by the United States Department of Agriculture to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture at no charge for use in Vermont cattle. Farms do have to purchase the RFID reader and software that collects the data.

“Doug does not have an iPhone and I don’t think he’s going to get one anytime soon., I can use it with my app on my phone makes it happen in real time, but it also has a save mode so I can give him the scanner himself and he can go out and scan things,” said Martini. 

“These are official tags,” said Cameron.

State law requires all livestock transported within and out of Vermont to be officially identified prior to leaving the property of origin. Imported livestock must also be officially identified before entering Vermont. Livestock include dairy and beef cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and camelids. 

“Hopefully, it will make things easier and also save some time,” said Martini.

“RFID technology being used as official tags is not a requirement now, but someday it might be. So, let’s get ready now and start using it so we’re familiar with it,” said Cameron.

The annual number of free RFID tags cattle farmers may receive is dependent on farm size. The Agency also has a smaller supply of free RFID tags for pigs. To learn more visit CLICK HERE or call the Animal Health Section at (802) 828-2421 or email your request to