Submitted by Dan Fenneman In March of 2013, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cattle Identification rules were implemented requiring all cattle 18 months old or older be identified for interstate (across state line) transportation. Beef cattle under 18 months of age, unless they are moved interstate for shows, exhibitions, rodeos, or recreational events, are exempt from the official identification requirement in this rule. The purpose of adult cattle and bison identification is simply to provide trace-back to the original owner, in the event of a serious animal disease outbreak, such as tuberculosis (TB), mad cow disease (BSE), or hoof and mouth disease. In response to the USDA’s rule, states have been developing rules for cattle identification for intrastate (within state) transportation. Florida’s cattle identification rule became effective on Feb. 19. The Cattle Identification Rule(s) (Chapter 5C-31, Florida Administrative Code) has been published with an effective date of Feb. 19. These rules are intended to improve the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Animal Industry’s ability to respond to serious disease outbreaks and to help the industry maintain out-of-state markets. These rules will require cattle 18 months of age or older, entering the state and moving within the state, to be tagged with Official Identification. Cattle moving to Approved Tagging Sites for tagging, cattle moving directly to slaughter, and cattle moving between pastures under normal ranching operations are exempt under the rule. Approved Tagging Sites are livestock markets, stockyards and other locations that are authorized to apply Official Identification as a service to cattle owners. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is providing a period of continued education and outreach prior to commencing enforcement actions. They are planning to fully enforce this rule beginning April 7, 2014. At that time, eligible cattle moving within the state must be officially identified or the cattle will be quarantined until officially identified. Subsequent violations will result in administrative fines. The Madison County extension office in collaboration with Townsends Live Stock Market will be hosting an open discussion educational meeting concerning this new rule on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at Townsends Live Stock, 387 SE Bandit St. Madison. All interested parties are invited to attend. Hamburgers will be served starting at 5 p.m. with the meeting to follow. Please register by calling the Madison Extension office at (850) 973-4138. The University of Florida Extension/IFAS Extension – Madison County is an Equal Employment Opportunity Institution.