A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) official predicts a national system for identifying premises where livestock are held, such as ranches, feedlots and packing plants, could be in place by late summer.

Neil Hammerschmidt, animal identification (ID) coordinator for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says USDA plans to voluntarily implement premises identification before making it a mandatory program.

There are no funds in the current budget for animal ID. The USDA official says he is looking forward to a government-industry partnership.

Hammerschmidt spoke at the Animal Agriculture Alliance stakeholders summit in Arlington, VA.