News release: Ontario Goat conducting field trial of RFID tags for goats

National goat identification to become mandatory in 2015

Guelph ON, September 30, 2013– Ontario Goat has launched a field trial of two types of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags for use on both meat and dairy goats in Ontario. The project will trial two types of tags in 13 Ontario herds and is an effort to prepare the industry for the national goat identification policy that will be implemented by the end of 2015.

“We expect that individual goat identification will become mandatory nationally in 2015, so this is part of Ontario Goat’s efforts to be proactive on this issue,” says Anton Slingerland, President of Ontario Goat. “This is an important national initiative that Ontario Goat is leading on behalf of goat farmers to make sure any potential new regulations will work in on-farm commercial settings.”

The goat industry must perform field trials in order to recommend tags to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for approval for the National Goat Identification Program (NGIP). As part of the six month project, trial supervisors will evaluate how well the RFID tags are retained on goats, as well as how easily and successfully the tags can be applied and read, both visually and electronically. If approved, these tags would be an option for producers to use once the national identification program becomes mandatory.

The selected RFID tags, manufactured by Allflex and Shearwell Data, have already been approved by CFIA foruse in sheep. This means they only have to undergo the retention field trial in order to also be approved for use on goats. Nine hundred goats are part of the trial, and each participating herd will have 50 per cent of its animals using each of the tags. Results will be compiled and evaluated by Ontario Goat.

“The results of this trial will help the Ontario industry be prepared to meet livestock identification standards for goats, which are an important part of food safety and traceability,” adds Slingerland.

The RFID field trial is part of a larger traceability initiative for meat goats being led by Ontario Goat. Animal identification supports producers with effective on-farm herd management, as well as helping the industry respond more effectively to emergency situations that require traceability and movement information.

“RFID can also be used to make record-keeping easier and to compile data across the herd to help make management decisions,” says Ontario Goat project co-ordinator Kevin Weaver. “This is a proactive tool that can help producers as they expand their herds and add new technology to their operations.”

The project is funded through the Traceability Foundations Initiative, a federal-provincial cost-shared initiative. The federal funding investment is made through the Agricultural Flexibility Fund. Ontario Goat represents Ontario’s milk, meat and fibre goat farmers with a united voice and is dedicated to enhancing the goat industry through education, collaboration, innovation and strategic alliances. For more information, visit


For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Haley, Executive Director, (519) 824-2942 or

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