4-H & FFA Livestock Identification Changes - JUNE 1 Deadline

animal identification changes

The information below is from the Iowa 4-H Staff in regards to animal identification and weigh-ins due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  We have added information to parts of the letter to provide additional information about Mahaska County specifically.
To: 4-H Livestock Exhibitors
From: Iowa State University Extension & Outreach 4-H Youth
Re: Livestock Identification Deadlines and County Weigh-ins

On behalf of the Iowa 4-H Program and considering the current and ongoing situation regarding the COVID-19 virus, adjustments are being made to this year’s livestock identification process and county weigh-ins. We have been in contact with our partners; FFA, State Fair, and Iowa Association of Fairs to make sure we are all on the same page.

• As of today, all county weigh-ins for meat goats, sheep and/or swine are to be cancelled. This is for the health and safety of our 4-H families and staff. Unfortunately, that means fairs that conduct rate of gain contests will not be able to do so for the 2020 fair season. For those counties who’ve already had their weigh-in this spring, those contests could still occur.

• The May 15 livestock ID deadline will be moved back to June 1. This applies to ALL livestock that are usually identified by May 15 including: Breeding Beef, Dairy Cattle, Dairy Goat, Dog, Horse, Meat Goat, Myotonic Goats, Llamas, Poultry, Rabbits, Bucket/Bottle Calf, Bottle Lamb, Bottle Goat, Sheep, and Swine.

• Tagging Procedures – we are asking county extension offices to work with families to obtain official 4-H ear tags, or if county staff are comfortable could set up on-farm tagging. We are not requiring counties to do that latter, it’s just another option. Any process that is utilized should keep in mind good biosecurity practices and measures for people and animals. Additionally, for Identification purposes, we are asking all tagged animals be documented by photo that is uploaded to 4-H Online. Process will be outlined in the FAQs mentioned below.  Mahaska County SWINE must be identified with ear notches, sex, colors and markings, and current tag (if any) - those that do not have tags will enter 0000 into the required tag field.  Currently, the plan is to tag the pigs as they arrive at the Southern Iowa Fair in July. Families are welcome to order ear tags from the Extension office (by May 15) using the online request form.  Tags must be in ears by June 1 if pre-ordering. If a tag is in the pig's ear prior to June 1, it must also be identified using ear notches - no exceptions!
Photos of swine are not required.  If you have trouble uploading images of sheep or meat goats into 4hOnline, feel free to email them to our 4-H staff (Ashtin - acharris@iastate.edu or Amy - vermeerA@iastate.edu).

• Retinal Imaging – this has been waived for sheep and meat goats for 2020 Iowa State Fair.
A Frequently Asked Questions document is being developed and will be posted on the 4-H Livestock website, https://www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/projects/livestock, as soon as possible. An email will also be sent to all 4-H families currently enrolled in a livestock project via 4-H Online with these changes.

We will continue to monitor and re-evaluate the situation and make additional adjustments as needed. We appreciate your understanding and want you to know we have our 4-H staff, families and youth members’ absolute best interest at heart. We understand these are unprecedented times and will do everything we can to ensure youth can exhibit their livestock projects this summer.

Any questions or further information can be directed to Mike Anderson, State 4-H Livestock Specialist, at mikeande@iastate.edu.

4-H Animal Identification must be completed in 4hOnline at https://iowa.4honline.com by the end of the day on June 1, 2020.  Additional instructions for animal ID can be found at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/EnrollmentDocs/LivestockEntryForFamilies.docx.  Please be sure to upload photos of animals to 4hOnline.  Tutorials for 4hOnline Animal ID have been created by Samantha Jamison (Louisa County 4-H) and Ashtin Harris (Mahaska County 4-H) and posted to our website at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/mahaska/page/livestock-exhibiting-information.


FFA Animal Identification must be completed using Google Forms by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, June 1, 2020.  State Fair FFA animals will be handled by the individual chapter FFA Advisors.  We would like to also receive photos for FFA animals (sheep, meat goat, dog, & horse) for the county fair.  FFA Animal ID Links can be found at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/mahaska/page/livestock-exhibiting-information (scroll down to FFA Animal ID).


County Fair Breeding Beef only requires a tattoo OR tag, not both.  If you only have a tattoo, enter 000 in the tag field.  If you only have a tag, enter 000 in the tattoo field.  Purebred Heifers must have registration numbers in 4hOnline by June 1, no exceptions.  Pending registrations will not be accepted, the heifers will go into commercial.  Birthdates are required for ALL breeding heifers at the county and state fair. 


Iowa State Fair Swine, Sheep, & Meat Goats

In lieu of the COVID-19 situation, retinal images for sheep and meat goats at the Iowa State Fair have been waived by the Iowa State Fair Board for 2020.
4-H sheep and meat goats (both breeding and market animals) will be required to upload 3 (three) photos into 4-H Online by the June 1 ID deadline.  4-H Online has been updated with photo upload fields.  We strongly encourage sheep to be sheared before taking photos.
              The three (3) photos must include one of each of the following:
·         Clear, readable picture of the 4-H/USDA tag in the animal’s ear
·         Left, full side view of the animal
·         Right, full side view of the animal
All other required fields in 4-H Online will still be needed for identification purposes (i.e. tattoo numbers, birthdates, etc. as needed for the particular species).
If circumstances change in the future, this policy may be re-visited depending on the situation and any feasibility of collecting images. We would like to stay consistent and treat all animals (sheep and meat goats) fairly in this regard.

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