by: Lynn Swearingen (c) copyright 2009

Just when you thought you’d heard it all, something comes along that makes you say “Hm. I just wonder”.

While surfing around the UHF-RFID livestock world, I came across a new and snazzy tag. Trust me folks – you want to pass on this one.

While a cutie-wootie-slick-forward-looking tag can be an extra bonus in selling (riigghhtt) – this one has the stink of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) plastered all over it. Why would one think that? Here we go (links are provided at conclusion for ease of  review):

USDA approves eTattoo from Eriginate as First Official UHF Identification Device (1) That headline should cause one to wonder and the opening comment begs for investigation:

“Eriginate Corporation announced today the approval of its eTattoo tag by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The approval marks the first ultra-high radio frequency identification tag (UHF RFID) and the first non-low frequency tag (LF) to be approved for use with the “840” Animal Identification Number (AIN)”

Just whom is on the board of this  “Eriginate”? (2)

Why surprise surprise the Director is one Mr. Doran Junek. As his bio (3) clearly states, he has all the bells and whistles required to position this firm for the first “approved” eTattoo:

Lobbying responsibilities – check
Member of the Bovine Species Working Group for NAIS – check
Affiliation (past or present?) with Cargill – Check
“Key industry Contacts” – Check

…but that’s just my opinion.

Of course as “Advisors” (4) go, the most interesting could be Gerardo Flores of famed NASA affiliation. Nah. While his specialty could ensure that once we go “solar system wide” the critters could be properly traced, that’s a few years in the future, so lets see….here’s an interesting character.

Mr. Willis Black of WBB INTL fame (5).

“Willis Black has over 30 years of international business experience encompassing capital equipment sales, commodity trading and hedging, foreign currency hedging, international business development, and finance structuring, primarily in developing/emerging country markets.”

Wow. That’s a mouthful. One could suppose that when the USDA is involved in a “National Animal Identification System” one would need someone with National experience. So what does that whole “International” thing mean – it couldn’t mean “International Livestock Identification System”…could it? We’ll just chuck that in the “check” pile for now.

If one was to run right out and “bling up the bovines” what exactly would a starter kit for 100 head cost? How about MSRP: $9995.00 – but wait – act now – because it’s on sale down from a whopping Retail Value of $11,898.36 – and there is a limit of one per customer! (6)

But how do “we” know this system might work? Why it was tested of course! Right there at the Holton, Kansas Livestock Exchange in Fall of 2008. Just ask Mr. Dan Harris (7) the owner. Ignore the fact that he is a Director on the Board of Livestock Marketing Association (LMA)  which in April 2009 publicly spoke what appeared to be  opposition to NAIS in an economic sense before the USDA (8)

In May LMA also released “NAIS Cost-Benefit Study Summary” (9) which supported the concept of “Let’s Slow down folks and rethink this thing”.

If livestock owners feel that they have entered a “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” kind of alternate reality world terminating at the USDA – they’d be right.

And the pun “Bacon” = “Cash” = “USDA Payback for Participation”  Why that was intentional!

RFID eTags Bring home the Bacon