In 2011, House Bill 432 was passed. That law contained an act of legislation on the transport of swine in North Carolina. The new law, which came into effect in October of 2011, addresses a need for identification of swine if they are transported off the farm, penalties for unlawful transportation without identification, and penalties for misuse of identification. The fines go up to $5,000 per violation, so if you are hauling ten pigs without proper identification, that’s a possible fine of $50,000. It was designed to cut down on the transportation of feral swine into N.C. for the purposes of hunting. The basic synopsis of the bill is that any swine that leave your premises (including, hogs for slaughter, sale, or for show) must have a NCDA approved form of identification.
So here’s the real question, who does this law apply to and what is considered ‘approved’ identification? This law does not apply to contract swine growers whose integrators handle the identification of pigs that go on and off of all farms. This law applies to independent operators, pastured pork producers, youth who show pigs in competition, and any person who has one or more hogs that plan on leaving their property via a public road. Meat processing facilities and sale barns are now requiring identification prior to accepting any pigs.
So what counts as proper identification? Ear tags bought from your local feed stores do not count as proper identification for transport. Pigs that are being shown and sold at the N.C. State Fair are given tags early in the summer to identify them, so no further identification is necessary. For pastured pork growers who have a farm facility id and assign tattoos to pigs, that counts as proper identification. Pigs raised on the ground for sale or meat and pigs shown at local county fairs where only minimal identification is necessary need to get a NCDA Farm Facility tag. These numbered tags are assigned to a farm (free of charge) after filing and application. They are not to be used on any other pigs from any other facilities.
The Sampson County Extension office has a set of tagging pliers available for demonstration of tagging methods. For information on obtaining an application for swine id tags please contact the Sampson County Extension office at 910-592-7161.