Issue of Traceability Gains Traction in Cattle Industry, Producers Mull Possibilty of Voluntary ProgramsTue, 07 Aug 2018 10:24:10 CDT
It was a busy time for beef producers and industry leaders last week during the 2018 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting held in Denver. Many were there representing their state beef councils review projects that may earn funding through Beef Checkoff dollars. On the policy side, though, other producers were there to speak on the behalf of their state beef associations and offer their opinions on hot-button issues that have cropped up here in 2018. Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey sat down with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays to talk about one of those issues that garnered a lot of attention.
“Probably the one that sparked the most interest by all states had to do with disease traceability in the Cattle health and Wellbeing Committee,” Kelsey said. “I think every state has experienced those opportunities of tracing cattle due to a disease situation and certainly we want to keep our minds as sharp as we can regarding the potential of a disease outbreak.”
Kelsey says having the ability to trace diseased animals quickly and efficiently - keeps trade and commerce open and allows business to continue as normal in the event that a disease outbreak does occur. USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach was there also and agreed that a traceability system is vital to ensure consumer trust in the industry and to prevent any future market disruptions. So, while there is undeniable benefit to a traceability system, Kelsey says the industry is wary of any federally mandated systems that might be implemented. Some states, he says were actually very open to the idea, but a consensus was finally achieved in discussion that for now - any systems developed should only be established on a voluntary basis.
“A couple of states including Oklahoma, were very hesitant of a mandatory ID system,” Kelsey said. “We just don’t feel like we’re there yet. Obviously, that discussion is going to keep happening. The pressure is there for it, but to appropriately move forward, we have a lot of work to do before we ever go down that road. Any time you put a mandatory program in place by the government, it’s cost driven and there’s little opportunity for any type of innovation and chance to add value.”
Structured as a voluntary program, though, Kelsey says producers who wished to participate would be able to take advantage of the value-added opportunity of perhaps joining a branded program catering to consumers willing to support a traceable product.
Listen to Kelsey and Hays talk more about the discussions that took place this past week at the Cattle Industry Meeting over the issue of traceability in the cattle industry, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is 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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