Washington launches online reporting of cattle sales


By Don Jenkins, Capital Press

Nov 27, 2019


Washington beef ranchers can now report cattle sales online, providing they use electronic ear tags, a way of tracking livestock resisted by some producers as labor intensive and intrusive.


The state Department of Agriculture touts "electronic cattle transaction reporting" as cheaper and easier than calling out a state inspector to verify ownership.


The system was launched this month and shown to industry representatives. "It looks as simple as ordering something on Amazon," said Danny DeFranco, executive vice president of the Washington Cattlemen's Association.


The department inspects sales to prevent theft and record cattle movements. The department hopes online reporting will hold down its costs and help it quickly identify cattle exposed to disease.


The agriculture department has allowed dairy farmers to electronically report sales of unbranded cows for several years. The Legislature this year extended the option to beef ranchers selling branded cattle.


Agriculture Director Derek Sandison said in a statement that expanding the system is a "major step toward simplifying and streamlining reporting requirements."


"It demonstrates important progress toward synchronizing the industry and government with today’s technology," he said.


Electronic reporting is not mandatory. Ranchers can still call out state brand inspectors...