Digital Angel Corporation (Amex: DOC), an advanced technology company in the field of rapid and accurate identification, location tracking and condition monitoring of high value assets, announced today that it has been selected by the state of Minnesota as a technology partner and provider of RFID (radio frequency identification) systems for a pilot program designed to test the viability of a large scale food animal identification and tracking program.
The state of Minnesota has been allocated nearly $435,000 in federal funds, part of $18.8 million in nationwide emergency funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to launch the first phase of the pilot project, which will include working with a variety of animal industry partners to set up a system to identify farms, feed lots, auction markets and processing plants in the state, establish a database and to begin tagging the food animals, including beef and dairy cattle and pigs, among other animals. The program was prompted in a large part by the December 2003 case of Mad Cow Disease in the state of Washington which has caused many countries to ban the import of U.S. beef.
"Our goal is to implement one of the best and most reliable animal identification and tracking systems in the world," said Minnesota Board of Animal Health Executive Director and State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartmann. "Digital Angel is already working with several of Minnesota's key producers, which allows us to immediately access animal data available on important projects."
The pilot project will identify animals and track them throughout their lifecycle to demonstrate the feasibility of RFID. Digital Angel's RFID systems have been designed to meet the requirement of government's permanent identification needs and food animal producers' requirements for efficiency and economic return on investment.
Digital Angel, the pioneer in animal RFID projects, offers a full line of technologies in the field of tracking and identification, including RFID tags and implantable microchips, scanners and advanced herd management software which has proven it can be rolled out quickly in large quantities. The Company's systems have already proven themselves effective in tracking cattle, swine and fish, said Chief Executive Officer Kevin McGrath.
"Our proprietary microchip technology has proven to be an inexpensive and efficient basis for animal tracking and we look forward to working with the state of Minnesota to again prove its value on a large scale program," McGrath said. "We believe our RFID technology can be the basis of a truly national animal identification system that protects our nation's herds and the safety of our food supply."