The USDA published its final Animal Disease Traceability rule on January 9, 2013, and the rule became effective on March 11, 2013. However, the rule included a 24-month phase-out period during which producers could continue to use various identification tags, such as those using a “900” numeric prefix, as official identification. As of Wednesday, March 11 2015, only tags beginning with the 840 prefix and using the program’s official Animal Identification Number (AIN) system and the U.S. shield will be in compliance with the program for non-exempt cattle moving across state lines. Others such as 900 tags remain acceptable only if the animal was tagged prior to March 11.

The ADT rule establishes general regulations for improving the traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate.  

The rule allows a range of tag types, including typical plastic ID tags, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and the USDA-approved metal tags that include the U.S. shield and use the official AIN system. A document from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) provides details on ID devices that comply with the ADT rule.

The ADT rule specifies that several classes of cattle travelling in interstate commerce must be identified with official ID and accompanied by traceability documents acceptable to the shipping and receiving states. These include all sexually intact cattle and bison over 18 months of age, all female dairy cattle of any age, all dairy males (intact or castrated) born after March 11, 2013 and cattle and bison of any age used for rodeo, shows, exhibition and recreational events. Feeder cattle under 18 months of age, by far the most common class of cattle traveling across state lines, are currently exempt from the ADT rule.

Details of the ADT rule are available on the USDA/APHIS traceability website