|By SHELLY STRAUTZ-SPRINGBORN
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Workshops have been planned in 11 Michigan locations to help dairy and beef producers learn what they need to do to meet the Michigan Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) March 1, 2007, deadline for electronic ear tags in all cattle.
“The Michigan Holstein Assoc. wanted to spearhead these meetings because we feel it’s important to be proactive about industry issues,” said MHA Membership Committee Chairwoman Sara Long. “We felt this was a key opportunity to provide a benefit to our members and also to dairy and beef producers in the state.”
Long said the focus of the workshops will include a comprehensive overview of the program by Kevin Kirk, special assistant to the animal industry with the MDA, about the state’s mandatory deadline for use of radio frequency identification (RFID) ear tags in all cattle, as well as a time for attendees to ask questions.
“We want to provide a forum for all beef and dairy producers so they can have their questions answered,” Long said. “We believe it’s very important to address the issue at the forefront of the process.”
The meetings, organized by the Michigan Holstein Assoc. and Michigan State University (MSU) Extension, have been scheduled for:
•Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Jackson County MSU Extension office in Jackson
•Aug. 4 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Hillsdale County Fairgrounds in Hillsdale - a barbecue will follow the meeting
•Aug. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon at Brown Dairy Equipment in McBain - lunch will follow the meeting
•Aug. 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Ogemaw County MSU Extension office in West Branch
•Aug. 11 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Moo-Ville Creamery in Nashville
•Aug. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Clinton County Regional Education Service Agency in St. Johns
•Aug. 15 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Franklin Inn in Bad Axe
•Aug. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Coopersville Farm Museum in Coopersville
•Aug. 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Hood Farms in Paw Paw
•Aug. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Conference Center in Frankenmuth
•Aug. 23 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Newaygo County MSU Extension office in Fremont
The Michigan Agriculture Commission earlier this year approved a mandate that will require the ear tag tracking system by March 1, 2007. After the deadline any untagged cattle will be turned away from sale barns and slaughterhouses.
Kathy Lee, Missaukee County MSU Extension educator, said it is important for producers to attend one of the workshops so “they know what to expect and what’s going to happen as of March 1.”
She said during the workshops producers also will be shown how to put in the ear tags and where they should be placed in the cattle’s ear.
“Producers will be provided the information they need to make sure they are doing everything they need to do to be in compliance,” Lee said.
The use of electronic identification tags is expected to help move the state toward TB-free status by providing an accurate method of tracking animal movement.
All animals moving into or out of the TB modified accredited area in Michigan’s upper section of the Lower Peninsula already must be TB tested and tagged with electronic ear tags.
The MDA will issue farmers a new TB premises ID when they call to order tags. Each tag in Michigan will have a prefix of 840, which has been assigned to Michigan by the USDA.
The tags cost $2 each and can be ordered by calling the Lansing Tag Line at 1-866-870-5136, the Atlanta MDA office at 1-888-565-8626 or online at www.MDAfirstname.lastname@example.org on the World Wide Web.