Show Pigs

Ranking twelfth in the U.S. for pork production, Michigan’s swine industry is extremely diverse and has a robust show pig industry. Youth in Michigan can become involved in the pork industry by participating in various events including jackpot shows, educational opportunities and county fairs. Involvements in these events help foster the growth and future of the pork industry in Michigan.

As swine exhibition in Michigan grows, efforts are being made to provide producers, show organizers and youth with information. This page is the “go to” resource for information on official identification, health management and contacts.

Official Identification

According to Public Act 466 of the Animal Industry Act official identification for exhibition swine is required by state law. The purpose of official identification is to help the state track swine if a disease outbreak occurs, this is called traceability. This includes all swine being shown at exhibitions, including county fairs, jackpot shows, birthing exhibits and other events. Official identification is imprinted with a nationally unique official animal identification number and bears the official U.S. shield.

Please note: 2021 MDARD will be changing the requirements for official ID for swine. This means guidelines for Official ID for exhibition swine will be updated for the 2021 Exhibition year.

More information on official identification is found below: 

How can I get a premise number for my farm? 

A premise identification is a number issued to your farm when you register with the Michigan Department of Agriculture. By registering as a premise your farm will be listed with the National Animal Identification System, which increases traceability. This information is not shared with other sources. If you would like to obtain a Premise Identification Number or if you have questions, contact the Animal ID department at Michigan Department of Agriculture at 800-292-3939.

USDA approved Manufactures of 840 tags 

The following companies are approved to manufacture official Identification 840 tags. You will need to find a distributor of these tags in order to purchase them. Please note that official identificaion tags cannot be ordered directly from the manufacturer.

  • Allflex
  • Y-Tex Cooperation
  • Destron Fearing 

Where can I buy 840 tags?

Various companies are approved distributors of 840 official identification ear tags. Below you will find a limited list of distributors. Please contact your preferred distributor to see if they carry 840 tags. 

Contact information sheet for assistance with official identification or disease management 

Health and Disease Management

When working with exhibition swine every effort should be made to manage the health of the animals prior to, during and after exhibition.  Minimizing disease risks through proper care, transportation and a herd health plan will help youth producers and exhibition event organizers avoid a disease outbreak.  Information on vaccination, weigh in and tagging event protocols, along with suggestions on biosecurity and show procedures are below:

Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA)

Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) is a national multi-species quality assurance program for youth ages 8 to 21 with a focus on three core pillars: food safety, animal well-being, and character development. The YQCA program highlights 10 good production practices for youth producers to review and includes specific information on: pigs, beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, goats, market rabbits and poultry. This program is available online through the YQCA system. It is also offered as instructor-led face-to-face workshops by certified YQCA trainers.

The YQCA Program is committed to educating youth about good production practices, including producing safe, healthy products for consumers. This program ensures packers and consumers that the animals are cared for correctly and that the caretakers are aware of the standards and guidelines for using animal health products, using scientific based information.

The YQCA program may be required by some county fairs or livestock exhibitions in order for youth to participate, this is a fair-by-fair and show-by-show requirement and youth should clarify the rules with the specific exhibition they are attending. 

Use of Ractopamine in Exhibition/Show Pigs

Ractopamine is a beta-agonist feed additive used in production swine diets to promote lean muscle growth. It has been approved for use in swine diets in the United States. In recent years the use of ractopamine has been prohibited in many countries around the world because of concerns about its possible health effects when used improperly. Several commercial pork processing plants have announced they will no longer purchase pigs that have been fed ractopamine.

These recent announcements will have an impact on county fairs and exhibitions that utilize resale markets as a service to their livestock auction buyers. In 2020 many of the county fairs and other swine shows in Michigan have been discussing the product ractopamine and several have decided to eliminate its use in hogs exhibited at their events to protect their market for these animals following the fair or exhibition.

Resources about ractopamine have been developed by MSU Extension and are available for exhibitors, parents, county fair staff and exhibitions that are considering or have implemented a ban on this product. 

The first page of the document.

Frequently asked questions on ractopamine eliminations

March 13, 2020

MSU Extension provides an opportunity to review frequently asked questions regarding ractopamine.

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The first page of the document

Information on the impact of ractopamine elimination for county fairs and exhibitions

March 13, 2020

MSU Extension provides information on the impacts of ractopamine on county fairs and exhibitions