Currently, there is a lot of interest in the livestock industry regarding cattle traceability, or animal ID. Chelsea Good, vice president of government and industry affairs for the Livestock Marketing Association, said in a recent interview with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, that her organization and the people it represents fall right in the middle of this conversation.
“Cattle traceability is one of those cyclical issues in our industry, where it feels like it kind of circles back on itself,” she said. “We’ve had mandatory ID for those adult animals that move across state lines since 2013, but there is a lot of interest right now on what is that next step… do we advance traceability and how do we do that?”
As local and regional hubs of livestock movement and where the majority of livestock are identified, livestock markets are central to this discussion. In recognizing their unique situation in this, the LMA has created its own subcommittee on traceability and has also been actively engaged with the National Cattle Traceability Working Group that is leading an industry wide discussion on how to move this issue forward nationally. According to Good, those discussions have seemed to have been favoring electronic ID tags as the primary tool to accomplish this - looking into both low and ultra-high frequency options. While the debate rages on, pilot projects have been implemented to see if the industry can evolve at the speed of commerce. But, the issue that has to be dealt with first is getting all segments of the beef chain on the same page. Good says a division exists in the industry right now that either wants mandatory ID or that simply does not.
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