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Is Traceability Now A Cost of Doing Business For Cattlemen?

20:10PM Sep 06, 2018

There’s one thing everyone in the livestock industry can agree on—consumer demands are changing how we do business.

The upcoming 2018 Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability  will work to identify the problems and begin to form solutions on how to transfer information from pasture to plate across species, and continue to support the production of a safe food supply.

This allows every stakeholder—from state and federal animal health officials, state cattlemen associations, technology providers and producers—to talk about the problems and solutions of beef chain traceability, Jennifer Houston, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) president-elect, told Chip Flory on Agri-Talk Thursday.

Why is traceability coming back to the forefront of discussion?

“There's opportunities that we can all get out of a more robust traceability system,” Houston says. “As we are more in a global economy, we realize what can happen with animal disease—how quickly things can move and other species besides cattle have had some really major problems, I think it becomes more important.”

As a livestock market owner in eastern Tennessee, she sees the day to day responsibilities of tagging cattle over 18 months that cross state lines, as well as dairy steers.

“It's been something we've been involved heavily in for several years, but especially in the last two years,” she says. “I think the conversation comes up is, is that enough? And what are the next steps?”

Disease prevention is only part of the issue, pointed out Greg Henderson, editor of Drovers. Food companies are asking for more information to share with consumers.

 “We need to remember traceability is important for disease control, but there is going to be in a tremendous amount of pressure from Amazon from other big companies, [like] Walmart to provide them with more data, their consumers are going to demand it traceability. Our export markets are another pressure point,” Henderson said.

Click above to hear Houston talk about the data privacy and cost implications of animal traceability.