Cattle traceability is not a new topic of conversation among cattle producers. Cattle disease and the ability to track the origin of the diseased cattle, has been a driving factor for pilot programs in Texas, Florida, and Kansas. These pilot programs are meant to start the discussion, develop and enhance a cattle disease tracking system in the U.S.
Cattle traceability implementation doesn’t come without a concern of cost, privacy and new technology but that has been driven backward with a new mid-set shift for producers. Industry leaders have recognized the need for a disease traceability infrastructure through the US.
The three states are working to find the best way to track cattle from the origin, to the point of sale, to the plate, all done by electronic ear tags. EID tags are at the core of all three pilot programs.
Each pilot has a different approach to seeking a solution. The Texas traceability program involves producers and associations from five other southern states. The goal in Texas is to add value to the herd by capturing statistics on the farm. EID tags record a tag number and date and origin of tagging. Movement after the implementation of the tag including premise ID, physical address and GPS coordinate would be recorded along with other information including the owner’s name, phone number and email.
For cow/calf producers information entered including DOB, breed, health information, weaning weight and BQA program information.
Florida is also making headway. This pilot program begins in the sale barn, with producers getting EID tags placed in the sale barn for a fee. Similar information is record as listed in the Texas program.
Kansas is taking an approach with only 4 data points collected in their programs CattleTrace. CattleTrace, encourages individual animal identification numbers to be recorded, a GPS location tracking, and a date and time.
During the Cattle Health and Well-being Committee Meeting at the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, representatives agreed the pilot programs are not a competition to see which state is the best, rather the three programs working together to find a traceability program that will work in the US.