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Delegates introduce resolution

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

On June 13, Congresswoman Harriet Hageman (R-WY) and Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced a joint resolution to overturn the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s rule mandating electronic identification (EID) eartags for bison and cattle when moving across state lines. 

The final rule, which was released on May 9 and scheduled to go into effect on Nov. 5, amends a previous rule from 2013 to require identification tags for interstate movement of sexually-intact cattle and bison 18 months of age or older; cattle and bison of any age used for rodeo, recreation events or exhibition and all dairy cattle be both visually and electronically readable. 

Resolutions of disapproval

However, if the resolutions of disapproval filed by Wyoming’s delegates under the Congressional Review Act – a tool Congress created to overturn certain federal actions – are passed, they would block the final rule from going into effect. 

“This rule is a solution to a problem that will advance a federal mandate which the American ranching community will have to pay for,” states Hageman in the June 13 press release. “America produces the highest-quality meat in the world, and there is nothing wrong with our traditional disease traceability system.”

“This unfunded mandate raises serious privacy concerns for ranchers and their herds, with the potential to lock ranchers out of traditional markets, thereby furthering vertical integration in the U.S. food supply chain,” she continues. 

Hageman notes the U.S. needs to look no further than Ireland to understand the impact of an EID mandate. 

“In early 2022, Ireland adopted an EID mandate, and by August 2023, their government was reporting they needed to slaughter as many as 41,000 head of livestock – not because of a disease outbreak, but because of so called ‘climate change,’” she shares. “ A mandatory EID simply gives the federal government too much power.” 

Lummis agrees USDA’s EID mandate threatens the privacy and prosperity of America’s producers.

“Wyoming’s ranchers provide some of the highest-quality meat in the world, yet this administration continues to find creative ways to make their jobs harder,” she says. “Forcing Wyoming ranchers to shell out their hard-earned money to trace and chip their livestock not only threatens to erode their privacy but puts unnecessary pressure on our supply chain.”

“As a rancher myself, I understand the devastating impact this will have on our industry and will do everything in my power to block this administration’s chronic federal overreach,” Lummis adds.   

Fellow Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) is an original cosponsor of the legislation, which is also cosponsored by Reps. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Josh Brecheen (R-OK), Eli Crane (R-AZ), Byron Donalds (R-FL), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Celeste Maloy (R-UT), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Andy Ogles (R-TN), McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Matt Rosendale (R-MT), Jason Smith (R-MO), Victoria Spartz (R-IN) and Chip Roy (R-TX). 

Support and opposition

For years, EID has been a hot button topic in the ag community, garnering mixed opinions, and the Wyoming delegate’s recent CRA to overturn the USDA’s rule has been met with both support and opposition. 

On June 20, R-CALF USA published a statement in support of Lummis and Hageman’s joint resolution.

R-CALF USA Chief Executive Officer Bill Bullard comments, “The final rule mandates the use of the highest-cost animal identification eartag, and it strips U.S. cattle producers from the option to use lower-cost but equally effective eartags for disease traceback purposes.”

“While the final rule mandates EID technology in eartags, it does not require the electronic transfer of any data from those eartags to anywhere or anyone,” he adds. “In other words, the rule does nothing other than force cattle producers to put an electronic chip – which is likely made in China – in the ear of their cattle.” 

“This is why this rule must be stopped now and why the entire industry needs to support the resolution of disapproval which will do just that,” Bullard concludes.

On the other hand, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President and Wyoming Rancher Mark Eisele has voiced an opposite opinion. 

During the 2024 Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show, hosted by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association in Douglas June 5-7, Eisele noted while he respects Hageman, he “vehemently disagrees” with her stance on traceability. 

“Regarding traceability, the U.S. is behind everyone else in the world, and we are not doing our job. They know where their cattle are and where they are going, and they are getting paid premiums because of it,” he stated. “It is a shame we are not doing the same.” 

Eisele told convention attendees some arguments made in opposition of an EID program are “conspiracy theories.” Instead, the program would simply be used as a tool for disease control to help prevent a nationwide shutdown in the event of an outbreak, he says. 

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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