DES MOINES – Several major pork packers will require official premises identification number (PIN) swine tags as a condition of sale for breeding stock starting Jan. 1, 2015, the National Pork Board reported Nov. 11.

Packers that will require PIN tags include Johnsonville, Hillshire Brands, Calihan Pork Processors, Bob Evans Farms, Wampler's Farm Sausage, Pine Ridge Farms, Pioneer Packing Co., Pork King Packing and Abbyland Pork Pack. The swine tags are part of an initiative to improve pre-harvest traceability and national disease surveillance, the NBP said. NPB said producers should keep records documenting identification and movement of breeding stock for three years.

"This is a positive step for our industry as we continue to create a more robust surveillance and traceability system that can help protect our animals, our livelihoods and our customers," said Karen Richter, National Pork Board president, and a pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. "That's why I encourage producers who may not already be using official PIN tags to register their premises and begin using the tags now."

NPB said Allflex USA, Inc., Destron Fearing and Y-Tex Corp. have US Department of Agriculture approval to manufacture official PIN swine tags. Producers must provide the nationally standardized PIN for the breeding farm when ordering the tags. If the firm does not have a PIN, producers may register for one at www.pork.org/PINtag. The tags are available in multiple colors, and are customizable with or without a management number.

"This allows producers to use the official tag in any color as a management tag or wait to apply the tag to sows and boars before leaving the production site to enter harvest channels," said Dr. Patrick Webb, the Pork Checkoff's director of swine health.