CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Agriculture Commissioner Gus R. Douglass is encouraging West Virginia farmers to weigh in on a proposed federal rule aimed at improving tracking diseased or at-risk livestock.

Douglass says in a news release that the ability to track diseased or at-risk livestock is a must. But he says it can take many forms.

The rule would require official identification of livestock being moved across state lines, unless there is a specific exemption. Identification methods could include metal eartags for cattle.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is seeking public comment on the rule through Nov. 9.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.