Indiana's 840 RFID Tag Program


For several years, through grant monies, BOAH has been able to provide free radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to cattle producers at no charge. The supply of free tags is depleted, and BOAH can no longer offer tags at no charge.

The tags are yellow button-style, full-duplex, RFID tags, featuring a 15-digit identification number. Each begins with the U.S. designation code of "840".

Why 840 Tags?

840 RFID tags offer the latest technology in conventional identification. In addition to visual labeling of an animal, RFIDs allow for wireless scanning of tags that can be downloaded to a computer or a hand-held device.

BOAH is launching this pilot program and encouraging the adoption of 840s because these tags:

  • meet Michigan importation requirements;
  • are Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL)-compliant;
  • assist producers with accurate, electronic record keeping;
  • can easily integrate with current commercially available production software; and
  • are free, while pilot program supplies last.

Obtaining Tags

Cattle producers may still obtain 840 RFID tags, at their own expense, through one of the official providers recognized by USDA-APHIS

A premises ID number issued by BOAH. The premises ID is necessary to link the tags to a specific location-usually the animals' point-of-origin. Once assigned to a specific premise, the tags CANNOT be transferred to another farm or operation. Those who have cattle on multiple locations should request different tags for each premise.

Under federal law, 840 tags can only be used in American-born livestock. Removal of tags is unlawful once they have been placed in an animal, because they are official U.S. government identification.

Tag options

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved several styles of RFID tags from various manufacturers for use as official 840 devices. (NOTE: Not every RFID tag is necessarily considered "official" ID for interstate movements, disease control programs or vaccination designations; nor do all carry the "840" designation.) As a USDA-approved provider, Allflex is supplying the 840 button tags for Indiana's pilot program under a contracted agreement.

Other styles, such as traditional bangle tags, or colors (including matching hang tags to accompany the pilot program buttons), may be purchased at the producer's own expense. These other tags are NOT part of the pilot program contract, and are not available through this initiative.  A list of the other tag providers is available through USDA-APHIS


Several components are needed to capture the full functionality of the 840 tag system. They include; the RFID tag, a reader, data collecting software and a computer. All of these items are available separately, at the herd owners' expense. A specific tagger (not included with the Pilot Program tags) will be needed for applying the EID tag.

An explanation and diagram explaining how and where the tags are applied can be viewed here

While these components are needed to operate the EID tags fully, purchasing them is not required. 840s can still be used like a conventional ear tag, because each tag still shows a readable number.

Tag Placement

Official identification for cattle can come in several different forms.  Indiana allows the use of RFID tags and metal ear tags.  Additionally, some producers choose to add identification for their own farm's record-keeping system.