Beef Buzz News
Oklahoma Cattle Producers See Mandatory European Animal ID Up Close in Ireland and ScotlandTue, 06 Mar 2012 06:06:05 CST
During our recent travels with Class XV of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program, participants got a up close and personal look at the current animal ID program in place in European Union countries. OALP saw the system at work in both Scotland and Ireland- and talked to both beef and dairy producers about its impact on their operations.
In Scotland, the group stopped at the Lochurd Farm. It's a family farm operated by the Noble family- and consists of about 1100 acres, mostly grassland. Their farming operation includes Suffolk and Cheviot sheep and British Blue Cattle. They are primarily in the business of producing animals for meat production, altho they also get a large wool crop off of their sheep annually, too. We talked primarily with Gordon and got into quite a discussion on the amount of paperwork an individual farmer faces with the animal traceability program. Gordon explained the system to the Class- and showed the group a animal passport, which must stay with the animal each step of his life- either for years as a breeding animal- or until he or she reaches the processing plant. (That's the picture you see here)
Gordon Noble says that if you haul the animals off of your farm without the papers right there in the truck with you- you can face big fines from the federal government. And if you should lose the passport for your animal- you face a replacement cost of over a hundred dollars US to replace it with a new one. Noble says the tracking will remain just as tight as 2012 unfolds, but that the system is finally shifting away from a paper passport for every single beef animal on your farm over to an electronic based system.
Later in the trip- we talked animal ID with Tim O'Leary, a dairy farmer in the southern part of Ireland. His story was much the same- lots of paperwork and exacting rules to follow.
The rules that are the foundation of the Animal ID system in Europe include four pillars-
Individual animal identification of cattle with two eartags;
Holding register for each keeper (e.g. farm, market, slaughterhouse)
Individual passport for each animal containing data on all movements
Reporting all movements to a national database that is able to quickly trace animals and identify cohorts in the case of disease.
On today's Beef Buzz- we visit with two of the Class members to get their reaction to the very rigorous animal ID scheme in Europe as opposed to the disorganized efforts of the USDA for animal disease tracability (at least disorganized when you compare it to the EU).
We have comments with the Associate Commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Blayne Arthur and Roddy Sutterfield, a cow-calf producer and owner of a custom processing plant in Seminole.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the listen bar below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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