Missouri introduces new exhibition rules for cattle and swine

Missouri Department of Agriculture website
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New exhibition rules issued by the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) late last year for showing cattle and swine at county fairs and exhibitions will take effect this year. Specialists from the University of Missouri Extension say the changes will promote the health of the animals.

“Because we teach Show Me Quality Assurance (SMQA), it puts our words into action,” stated Marcia Shannon, MU Extension state swine specialist. “Animal identification, biosecurity, herd health plans, and a veterinary client-patient relationship (VCPR) are all components of SMQA. This initiative helps in raising safe, wholesome food, preventing animal disease transmission, and promoting good stewardship of our animals.”

An MDA spokesperson mentioned that 2024 will be used as an educational year for exhibitors and exhibition leadership to familiarize themselves with the new regulations.

According to the new rules, all exhibitors of cattle and swine must obtain certified veterinary inspections from an accredited veterinarian, aligning cattle and swine with existing MDA regulations for sheep and goats regarding disease tracebacks.

“Every exhibitor must maintain a valid client/vet relationship,” explained David Hoffman, MU Extension livestock specialist in Cass County.

Moreover, the animals are required to have an official form of identification, guided by USDA criteria and options for official identification ear tags, including:

  • An official National Uniform Eartagging System tag, starting with Missouri’s official state number 43 and allocated by USDA to accredited veterinarians.
  • An official Animal Identification Number tag, consisting of 15 digits that begin with 840 for the United States, available as visual or radio frequency identification (RFID) from the manufacturer.
  • A registration tattoo and registration papers from the appropriate breed association.
  • For unregistered swine, an ear notch accompanied by farm records is acceptable.

“It’s about ensuring that healthy animals arrive and healthy animals return home,” said Steve Strubberg, Missouri’s state veterinarian. Separate Certified Veterinary Inspections (CVIs) will be required for each species.

Cass County, which organizes steer weigh-ins for youth programs, is making sure animals meet the ID requirements, Hoffman noted. “Counties hosting weigh-ins typically do so before March 15, which could be an opportunity to ensure ID requirements are met.”

“Extension has shared information about the new exhibition rules with 4-H and FFA advisers,” mentioned Tim Safranski, MU Extension animal health and production education director.

For more information, visit the MDA’s Exhibition Rule Change Resources on the Missouri Department of Agriculture website.

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