INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana continues to see a decline in dairy farms.

As of Sept. 1, the state had 828 Grade A dairies. That is down from 928 Grade A dairy farms reported on Jan. 1 and down even more from the 1,042 farms that were in the state at the start of 2018, according to the Indiana Sate Board of Animal Health.

“We know being in that business is a real challenge now. However, we appreciate the efforts producers are putting into keeping their farms compliant and working with our inspection staff to protect the safety of our milk supply,” said State Veterinarian Bret Marsh.

Marsh gave updates on other livestock sectors in the state:

Beef

With a recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, BOAH is encouraging cattle owners who have not already made the switch to start planning to use electronic radio-frequency identification ear tags.

“Beginning in 2023, the USDA will only recognize RFID tags for beef and dairy cattle. Producers also need to know that beginning in 2021 traditional metal clip-style tags may no longer be applied as official identification in cattle,” Marsh said.

“Fortunately, many Hoosier cattle producers have had a head start on moving to the RFID technology that will enhance our ability to trace animals,” he said.

“BOAH recently completed a TurnIN-Trade Up program, funded by an Indiana State Department of Agriculture grant, that allowed veterinarians to trade in metal clip tags for RFID tags to help move their clients forward in this effort.”

Sheep And Goats

“BOAH is working with livestock markets and the sheep and goat sector to ensure everyone is aware of a recently adopted USDA requirement that all untagged sheep and goats must be accompanied by a signed owner-hauler statement,” Marsh said. “BOAH has a sample statement available online to download or print.

“This additional paperwork will help ensure proper records are available for any scrapie-related traces as we try to bring this disease eradication effort to a close. Part of that USDA policy also requires goats to meet the same tagging requirements as sheep,” he said.

“Again, with an ISDA grant, BOAH has been working to distribute a new style of RFID tag to sheep and goat owners to ‘test drive’ the technology and hopefully encourage wider adoption.”

Ashley Langreck can be reached at 800-426-9438, ext. 192, or alangreck@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Langreck.

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