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Premises Identification Number (PIN)

Three cows in a barn.Tracing livestock and poultry movements during a disease emergency is a critical component of controlling and eradicating the disease locally or nationally. This process is only successful if animals and their origins and destinations are properly identified and recorded. The Premises Identification Number (PIN) system was created for this purpose.

Traceability, or the ability to track where diseased or at-risk animals are and where they have been, is important to ensure a rapid response when disease events take place. Although animal disease traceability does not prevent disease, it can be an efficient and accurate system to reduce the number of sick animals and the response time involved in a disease investigation. (USDA APHIS, Animal Traceability)

Accredited veterinarians are legally responsible for properly identifying animals and recording the identification on certain official documents, such as a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI), test charts, and vaccination charts. It is essential that other individuals will be able to positively identify animals listed on these official documents.

The acceptable ways of identifying livestock and poultry include official visual ear tags, radio frequency identification (RFID) ear tags and implantable RFID transponders. Tattoos and brands are acceptable in some species for some types of movements. Details can be found in the summary of traceability requirements for livestock and poultry moved interstate according to the final rule that went into effect in 2013 [linked below]. Species covered under this rule include cattle and bison, horses and other equine species, poultry, sheep and goats, swine, and captive cervids (deer, elk, etc.).

Official identification devices, meaning tags or transponders, must use an official numbering system. The following numbering systems are recognized by the Animal Disease Traceability program:

  • Animal Identification Number (AIN) beginning with 840 (US country code).
  • National Uniform Eartagging System (NUES).
  • Location-based number system.
  • Flock-based number system.
  • Any other numbering system approved by the APHIS Administrator to officially identify animals.

Premises Identification Number

Animal ID ear tagsWhat is considered a “premises”? A premises is any physical location where livestock and poultry animals are managed and includes all locations where livestock are born, raised, marketed or exhibited.

The premises-based number system combines an official premises identification number (PIN), with a producer’s livestock production numbering system to provide a unique identification number. The PIN and the production number must both appear on the official tag.

  • A premises identification number (PIN) is a unique code that is permanently assigned to a single physical location.
  • A PIN includes a valid 911 address and a set of matching coordinates (longitude and latitude) reflecting the actual location of the animals on the premises.
  • PIN registration is administered by each state and links to a federal PIN database, which allows state animal health officials (SAHO) to quickly and precisely identify where animals are located in the event of a disease or food safety emergency.
  • A PIN is required to purchase official animal identification tags.
  • A PIN is required for both the premises of origin and the premises of destination.

Producers and processors are encouraged to validate their PIN with SAHOs to ensure their data accurately represents the location of the animals, and not a residence mailbox or business affiliated with the animal premises. Validated PINs will speed up communication and response time during an outbreak. (Secure Milk Supply, p. 5-6)

Quick Facts About a PIN

  • Only one PIN is assigned for a location regardless of the different types of livestock and poultry on the premises.
  • The assigned PIN is a permanent number and will not change if the premises are sold.
  • A PIN is required by the USDA for animal disease and emergency response.
  • A PIN is issued by each state.
  • Having a PIN assists with requesting movement permits during an animal disease outbreak.

A PIN is not the same as a Location Identification Number (LID):

  • An LID is also a location-based numbering system for livestock and poultry operations.
  • It is used by states for traceability and emergency disease response.
  • An LID is issued by states only but not every state manages LIDs.

How to Acquire a PIN

All 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands issue PINs. A livestock or poultry producer would contact their department of agriculture, either by phone or filling out an online application, to register.

Producers should be prepared to provide the following information to register for their PIN:

  • Name of entity or company.
  • Contact information for the owner or other appropriate individual.
  • Type of operation.
  • Street address, city, state, and ZIP code.
  • Telephone number.
  • Some states have an optional category for latitude and longitude numbers.
  • Most states request the species of livestock on the site.

It is important to note that the number of livestock is not required. The information gathered at the federal level for premises registration is only intended to identify that livestock are present and not the numbers of animals of each species.


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