The RFID Rift

Feb 12, 2021

Welcome to the acronym party…

Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) and the USDA’s subagency Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) are courting.

AKA, they’re seeing each other in court. AKA, there’s a lawsuit.

How we got here: An initial advisory committee spent months discussing the pros and cons of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags for traceability. But when the groups couldn’t reach a consensus, a new group – The Producer Traceability Council (PTC) – was formed.

The problem? Any opposing members to RFID weren’t invited to the PTC table. RFID advocates filled all the seats.

Then the USDA released a factsheet explaining the transition plan to RFID tags from metal ear tags on their website.

Let’s just say that none of this sat well with the R-CALF group…

R-CALF sees the proposed plans as imposing enormous cost requirements on operations with non-compliance leading to restricted market access.

Where this goes: After a quick legal hand slap from R-CALF, the USDA pumped the brakes and took the information off its website. With no new court dates set, R-CALF lawyers are filing complaints against the USDA for breaking rules and not allowing a public comment period. More to come here.