New exhibition rules issued by the Missouri Department of Agriculture late last year for showing cattle and swine at county fairs and exhibitions go into effect this year. University of Missouri Extension specialists say the changes encourage healthy animals.

“Because we teach Show Me Quality Assurance, it puts our words into action,” said Marcia Shannon, MU Extension state swine specialist. “Animal identification, biosecurity, herd health plans and VCPR (veterinary client-patient relationship) are all part of SMQA, which helps raise safe, wholesome food, prevent animal disease transmission and promotes being a good steward of our animals.”

An MDA spokesperson said 2024 will serve as an educational year for exhibitors and exhibition leadership to become accustomed to the new rules.

Under the new rules, all exhibitors of cattle and swine must have certified veterinary inspections from an accredited veterinarian. The new rules bring cattle and swine in line with MDA rules for sheep and goats for traceback in the event of an animal disease.

“Every exhibitor must have a valid client/vet relationship,” said David Hoffman, MU Extension livestock specialist in Cass County.

The animals must also have an official form of identification. USDA guides the criteria and options for official identification ear tags.

Animal ID options include:

• An official National Uniform Eartagging System tag.

  • Begins with the official state number 43 for Missouri.
  • Allocated by USDA to accredited veterinarians.

• An official Animal Identification Number tag.

  • Consists of 15 digits, beginning with 840 for the United States.
  • Visual or radio frequency identification (RFID).
  • Available from the manufacturer.

• A registration tattoo and registration papers from the appropriate breed association.

• For unregistered swine, an ear notch accompanied with farm records.

“It’s about having healthy animals arrive and healthy animals go home,” said Missouri’s state veterinarian, Steve Strubberg. Separate CVIs will be needed for each species.

Cass County, which hosts steer weigh-ins for youth programming, is making sure animals meet the ID requirements, Hoffman said. “Counties that have weigh-ins are typically done before March 15, which could be an opportunity to ensure ID requirements are met.”

“Extension has shared information about the new exhibition rules with 4-H and FFA advisers,” said Tim Safranski, MU Extension animal health and production education director.

See MDA’sExhibition Rule Change Resources at