The new regulation is slated to be in place in early 2022
Livestock producers in B.C. will now have to register for a Premises Identification (ID) according to a recent announcement from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.
The now mandatory Premises ID requires all livestock producers to register their headquarters or homestead for the ID. This ID will also be used when producers acquire RFID tags for their animals, said Kevin Boon, general manager of B.C. Cattlemen’s Association.
“When farmers buy their RFID tags they will also include in that their Premise ID numbers so that the tags are associated with a specific site when they're purchased by the owner and so it closes a bit of a hole within the traceability system,” he told Farms.com.
Having the Premises ID mandatory helps in two areas: animal welfare/food safety and in emergency situations. The animal welfare and food safety aspect allow animals to be tracked to specific farms when outbreaks occur and the emergency aspect helps in situations such as wildfires, said Boon.
“In times of emergency, it allows (emergency services) the ability to verify who they’re dealing with and when we have these huge evacuation orders, it allows (producers to get) in there to be able to do essential services and protect those livestock. It's really about protecting their investments, their animals, their cattle and keeping them out of harm's way,” he said.
The use of Premises ID really helped during the 2017 and 2018 wildfires in the province and that’s when many producers saw the need for it, said Boon.
Before 2017, “we didn't have a great uptake by producers. For quite a while we struggled trying to get them in there. It was viewed as being another government thing that government wanted,” he said.
“Then what really changed the books for our producers was in 2017 when we had our first really big fire out here. We utilize the Premise ID as a way of identifying where cattle producer’s places were and who belonged to them so that we could use it as a permitting document to get livestock producers back into their farms when the fires were burning so that they could perform activities to protect their livestock.”
The Premises ID also became a way of tracking people as well to make sure everyone was accounted for, said Boon.
“It was really beneficial in that manner and because of that, a lot of our producers signed up. For example, we went in the Caribou area where we only had about a 20 per cent enrollment to having virtually 100 per cent enrollment within about three days,” he explained.
Making the Premises ID mandatory in the province just makes sense and organizations like the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association have helped simplify the process of registration and making it online, said Boon.
Producers have until early 2022 to register for the Premises ID.
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