Winning the N.C. Born and Bred category has long been a source of pride for exhibitors at the N.C. State Fair and N.C. Mountain State Fair. The category is a testament to the quality of cattle, goats, sheep and swine that are truly homegrown. Starting in 2016, the winning animals will be known as Got to Be NC champions.
The change is a part of the new Got to Be NC ear tag program launched by the department this spring to better promote the quality of livestock born and bred in North Carolina. The voluntary program is a collaboration between the department’s Got to Be NC marketing program, Livestock Marketing Section and Veterinary Division.
“Got to Be NC is the official state identity program from agricultural products grown, raised, caught and made in North Carolina,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “It makes sense to align our prestigious N.C. born and bred program and other homegrown livestock with this outstanding identity program.”
To qualify for the Got to Be NC competitions, producers who have traditionally sold their animals as N.C. born and bred during the fair will need to participate in the new tag program.
Ranchers must be North Carolina residents, and participating animals must be conceived and born in the state. Participating livestock must be identified with an official Got to Be NC tag purchased by the producer before they are sold. The tags cost $5 apiece. Ranchers must complete a producer tag record and submit it to the department after tagging their animals.
In addition to promoting livestock, the tags also will help producers comply with state and federal laws governing interstate transportation of animals.
Ear tag order forms, membership applications and more information are available at www.ncagr.gov/markets/livestock/NCtags.htm.
In the video below, NCDA&CS livestock marketing specialist Billy Lewis explains how to apply the ear tags and the importance of the program.