Sheep ear tag ID technology is currently being tested

USDA has a new grant program to provide electronic ID ear tags for sheep producers, with a specific focus on sale barns in Oregon.

American Sheep Industry Association Executive Director Peter Orwick says electronic ID tags are already in use for sheep and cattle but the technology is not quite ready for widespread adoption in the sheep industry.

“So what we’ve done so far with the ID - we did a video for USDA working with a sale barn in Colorado, primarily to show USDA, the technology isn’t there for sheep yet to move at speed commerce and that was the point of that. And now we’re taking it to the next step to show for some that are getting close, how are they doing it? And of course, from the sheep industry standpoint, we’ve had, you know, mature sheep ID interstate requirements for over two decades because of the scrapie program. So we have a lot of the base in there. The difference is we haven’t moved to the EID format. We’re still on the on the metal tag.”

He adds that economics play a factor in this situation as spending $3-$4 per tag per sheep is not feasible.

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