You're new to pigs...
And you hear about this elusive "840' thing....
What is that?
It's an ear tag for pigs required by the USDA.
You'll have to check with your state vet to see when you need to use one. Each state varies. Some require them period. Others, only if your pig is being sold out of state.
These required tags always start with the #'s 8-4-0. Hence....the name.
In my experience, your Premise ID is free to obtain. And when I requested my premise ID a few years ago, my state (Georgia) included free tags as part of the process.
This '840' ear tag number is tied directly to your premise ID. (Click HERE for information on obtaining your premise ID.)
And, your Premise ID # is NOT the same number sequence as on your 840 tag.
My premise ID, for example, starts with 00N... and is a 6 place alpha numeric code.
The last 3 digits, at least, vary on your 840 tags so that each pig can have a unique tag and number.
I'm a firm believer that every pig should have an ear tag. This tag can be your means of tagging although I recommend going with larger tags of varying colors. The numbers on the 840 tags can become caked in mud and incredibly difficult to read over time.
You can also buy them with a RFID chip installed or not. And, in varying sizes/ shapes. Although the button tag pictured here is the most common, in my experience.
I have had success with the RFID button tags already when attending a national event out of state. The inspectors were able to use their reader to verify the chip. A pig may not allow an inspector to hold his/ her ear at an inspection point to verify the number.
USDA inspectors will have a reader for that chip. Otherwise, the chip reader is rarely cost effective or too cumbersome for the small farm to invest in.
To order your 840 tags, go online, select your choice and send over your premise ID. I personally prefer QC Supply for this as they are prompt, accurate and helpful in keeping the numbers sequenced properly for my farm. (I am not an affiliate of QC Supply....just a happy customer.)
Pro Tip - Tag all your pigs at weaning. It can be a significant challenge to go back and add tags once they are much larger! And ....your memory won't be as good as you think it is. Tagging and herd notes can make a huge difference down the road. Ask me how I know :/
Now - go forth and sell pigs! 840 tags and all!