Livestock producers and the Board have worked together over the years to eliminate diseases like pseudorabies, swine brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis. In order to continue safeguarding animal health, we are working to increase the efficiency and speed at which animals can be traced in Minnesota.

The board is working with livestock producers and organizations across the state to increase awareness of the importance and necessity of official animal identification. When a disease investigation occurs, animal health officials need to be able to trace affected animals quickly to ensure diseases are eliminated and the impact on Minnesota’s industry is minimized.

How can you help?

Complete, legible, records are crucial to effectively tracing livestock. There are a variety of records required as part of Minnesota’s animal disease traceability program.

Official Identification Record Requirements

The board distributes free official identification ear tags printed with the National Uniform Eartagging System (NUES) numbering system. When these, or any other official ear tags are applied, records must be kept.

Persons who apply official ear tags to livestock must maintain records on each animal identified, including:

  1. The characters on or contained within the ear tag.
  2. Characters on or contained within other official ear tags on the animal.
  3. Species, sex, age, and type of animal.
  4. Date of application.
  5. Name and address of the premises where the animal was identified.


  • If an animal is already identified with an official ear tag:
    • An additional official ear tag of the same type may not be applied without prior permission from the Board.
    • An additional official ear tag of a different type may be applied if all official ear tag numbers are recorded on all official records required by the Board.
  • A person may not tamper with or remove official ear tags from an animal without the Board’s permission.

Cattle and Bison Record Requirements

A person or entity that purchases, acquires, trades, deals in, sells, or disposes of cattle must maintain records on the acquisition and disposition of the cattle. Records must be retained for five years.

Records required include:

  1. Date of the transaction.
  2. Number of animals included in each transaction.
  3. Species, breed, age, and class of animal.
  4. Names and addresses of the persons or entities from whom the animals were acquired and to whom the animals were sent.
  5. The official identification number of each head of breeding cattle, rodeo cattle, and all cattle for exhibition correlated with the names and addresses of the persons or entities from whom the animals were acquired and to whom the animals were sent.
  6. Back tag numbers, if required.
  7. Certificates of Veterinary Inspection, if required.

Producers Importing Livestock

When livestock are imported from out-of-state, Minnesota livestock producers must work with the livestock producer in the state of origin of the livestock. The out-of-state producer must tell their veterinarian to call the Board’s office to learn about the import requirements for the livestock entering the State of Minnesota.  Minnesota livestock producers can be held responsible for imported livestock that do not meet the state’s import requirements.

Follow this link to read our Import requirements, or call our office at 651-296-2942. Alternatively, you can visit to view requirements for states.