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Animal Disease Traceability System Showing Improvement, But is Now the Right Time for Phase Two (Sep 07, 2017)

When it comes to Animal Disease Traceability (ADT), National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Veterinarian Dr. Kathy Simmons, says there is currently one level of the system in place here in the US that applies to cattle 18 months of age and older, that require cattle be ID’d for interstate movement. She told Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays that, while the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is not saying whether or not they will actually implement an expansion of this rule, to include cattle under the current age requirement, they are at least considering what a Phase II of the rule would look like, if it were put in place.

“Now, they’ve put out a 2017 ADT assessment report, which did show some progress in their traceability assessment requirements,” Dr. Simmons said, explaining how these reports will help determine the best method and time in which to introduce the 26 million head of cattle under 18 months of age into the system. “However, there still are some gaps, and these gaps are of some concern to us, to introduce this many cattle into a program that is not yet as fine-tuned as it could be.”

The matter of available resources is also concerning, she says, underscoring the fact that the available program dollars are shrinking. This begs the question of whether or not this is the right time to introduce such a large amount of cattle into the system? Furthermore, can this all be done at the speed of commerce, and what impact will it have on the effectiveness of the system once implemented?

“One would like to be able to find the traceback in an efficient time, ideally 48 hours - not weeks or months,” she said. “That means you have to have the infrastructure in place in all these different segments to move these cattle efficiently.”

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