Livestock and Poultry Identification

Livestock and Poultry Identification Purpose

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. 

By quickly containing contagious disease outbreaks, Animal Health Section veterinarians and specialists help to minimize disease-associated economic loss and protect the business continuity of Vermont's animal agriculture businesses.

Vermont Livestock Identification Law

State law requires all livestock transported within the State to be officially identified prior to leaving the property of origin, regardless of the reason for movement or duration of absence from the property. Livestock include dairy and beef cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and camelids. Examples of livestock movement within Vermont that this requirement applies to include transport to a slaughter facility, movement to a new farm location, and transport to a fair or exhibit. By having an official ear tag applied in your animal, there is a greater likelihood that your animal’s traceability is maintained during transport, marketing and slaughter. Additionally, applying official ID to your livestock before they leave your farm ensures that drug residues are not erroneously attributed to you and that the authenticity of any marketing claims you are making can be readily verified. Livestock transported out of Vermont also must be officially identified. Please note that backtags are NOT considered official identification and can’t be used for intra- and interstate movement. There is ongoing discussion at the federal level that indicates that at some point in 2019, only scannable electronic (RFID) ear tags will be allowed to be used as official ID. 

Types of Tags and How to Get Them

Metal ear tags (NUES tags) and 840 ear tags (AIN tags) are commonly used in Vermont by livestock owners. For many years, VAAFM has provided metal NUES tags at no charge to farmers, veterinarians, and livestock dealers. Please call the Animal Health Section at (802) 828-2421 to request tags. AIN 840 tags may be purchased from most ear tag distributors.

Please review the educational handout illlustrating official livestock tags

Contact Information

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620-2901


Program Contacts

  • Media Inquiries                      802.622.4662
  • Licensing & Registration        802.828.2436
  • Business Development          802.828.1619
  • Feed, Seed, Fertilizer & Lime  802.828.5050
  • Working Lands                    802.622.4477
  • Public Health & Resource Management                802.828.2431
  • Laboratory                                  802.585.6073
  • Animal Health                        802.828.2421
  • Dairy                              802.828.2433
  • Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures                           802.828.2433
  • Produce Program                  802.522.7811
  • Meat Inspection                    802.828.2426
  • Water Quality                               802.828.2431
    • Grants                                  802.622.4098
    • Enforcement                                802.828.2431
    • Reports                                      802.272.0323
    • BMP's                                      802.828.3474
  • Act 250                          802.828.2431 
  • Pesticide                        802.828.2431