Premises Registration

​​​Wisconsin is the first state in the nation to mandate livestock premises registration. We have a public-private partnership with the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC), that developed the necessary computer software over about five years. WLIC was already registering premises voluntarily when a BSE-infected dairy cow was discovered in another state in December 2003, prompting the U.S. Department of Agriculture to put premises and livestock identification on a fast track. In early 2004, the Wisconsin Legislature passed a law mandating premises legislation.

Livestock premises registrati​on means that any location where livestock congregate — family farm, hobby farm, backyard poultry flocks, veterinary clinics, markets, livestock feedlots, livestock dealers and haulers — provides to a central database an address, contact person, and list of species. The location gets a unique number. Our goal is to be able to trace livestock movements within 48​ hours in case of an animal disease outbreak, to find where an infection originated and what animals have been exposed.

What is premises registration and why is it important?

Premises registration is a way to locate where livestock or dead animals are kept or congregated. Premises are listed in a computerized database with information about what species of animals are kept at any location. Each premises is assigned a number that remains with the location.

Premises registration allows for much faster traces when there is an outbreak of an animal disease or an animal-borne human disease. If we know where susceptible animals are located, we can control the disease more quickly. Premises registration is not individual animal identification.

The WLIC offers an educational video highlighting the importance of animal disease traceability and the use of premises registration and individual animal identification—including the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags—to protect the food supply. The video explains how farm to fork traceability starts by tagging animals at the farm of origin through the end of life, and how using this technology provides fast and easy trace-back in case of an animal disease outbreak.

Voluntary or mandatory?

Premises registration is mandatory in Wisconsin, with one exception (see below). Wisconsin requires premises identification, regardless of whether the USDA or any other state requires it. It should be done as soon as animals are added to your premises and must be renewed every three years. It is important to keep your information accurate to ensure animal health officials have the most up to date information in the event of an animal disease outbreak.​

What must be registered?

Any location in Wisconsin where livestock are kept or congregated must be registered. Livestock includes: 

  • Cattle and other bovine animals
  • Swine
  • Poultry
  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Horses and other equine animals
  • Farm-raised deer and other cervids
  • Gamebirds including pheasants, quail, wild turkeys, migrating waterfowl, pigeons, and exotic birds raised in captivity
  • Bison​
  • Llamas and other camelids
  • Ratites such as emus and ostriches
  • Fish

Premises includes:

  • Farms and hobby farms
  • Veterinary clinics with large animal hospital facilities
  • Stables
  • Animal markets
  • Livestock feedlots, animal trucker and dealer premises where animals are kept
  • Slaughter, rendering and dead animal plants
  • Livestock exhibitions
  • Any other location where livestock is kept or congregated

The premises registration number stays with the location; that is, a change in property ownership will not change the premises identification number.

Who must register?

​Premises registration is required for all locations where livestock are kept or congregated.

The property owner, livestock owner, livestock caretaker, or other person involved in the livestock operation must register facilities not licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). If two or more people keep livestock on the same premises, one registration covers all.

Current DATCP licensees must register their licensed livestock premises (dairy, deer, and fish farms; animal markets, dealers and truckers; slaughter and rendering plants; and equine quarantine facilities).

Are there any exemptions?

Individuals with a sincerely held religious belief opposing registration of a livestock premises can seek an exemption under s. 95.51(2), Wis. Stats. To do so, the individual must complete an application and affidavit, signed before a notary public, and submit that application to DATCP. Only individuals can apply for a religious exemption, not a company. If the information provided in the affidavit cannot be verified by DATCP, the application may be denied and current premises registration requirements will apply.

Is my information confidential?

​Information provided by the registrant is confidential unless other laws require it to be open.

The premises registration number by itself is not confidential.

DATCP may disclose confidential information if necessary to prevent or control disease or protect public health.

How much does it cost?

​There is no charge for registering premises.

What information is required?

  • Legal name, trade name, mailing address, and phone.
  • Primary premises and up to three secondary locations.
  • Name and phone for contact person who has knowledge of livestock movements to and from premises.
  • Type of operation.
  • Type of livestock.

Registrants will receive a unique pr​emises registration number printed on a convenient plastic card, which can be carried in a wallet or placed in a file.

How can I register now?

How do I renew my premises registration?

DATCP requires each livestock premises to renew its registration once every three years.

If you move, change phone numbers, change contact name, or add a new species on your premises, you must update your information in one of the following ways:

  • Fill out an submit an online ​registration/renewal form
  • Make corrections to your renewal form and return it in the mail to WLIC.
  • Call WLIC at (888) 808-1910 and provide the information that needs to be updated.

Once a premises registration has been renewed, a confirmation letter with a premises ID card will be mailed to registrants. DATCP reminds livestock owners to keep their cards for future reference. Some organizations or events, such as fairs, may ask for a premises ID number in order to participate in their activities.