USDA Undersecretary Greg Ibach Shares Vision for a National Beef Production Traceability SystemWed, 31 Oct 2018 09:53:52 CDT
Even before the infamous ‘Cow That Stole Christmas’ mad cow disease incident back in 2003 that ultimately resulted in a ban on US beef into China for over a decade, the US beef industry has at times discussed the necessity of implementing an Animal Disease Traceability program, or ADT. In recent years, that topic has resurfaced driven mainly by customers, especially those overseas asking for more transparency within our cattle market chain. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays had the chance recently to catch up with USDA Undersecretary Greg Ibach about his views on ADT and according to him, it would appear the industry is nearing a consensus on how to go about getting such a system done.
“We’ve had a lot of discussion on the Farm Bill on the impact that Foot & Mouth Disease can have on the economy and the beef and pork industry,” Ibach said. “The key component in being able to control and contain an outbreak in the event one occurs in the United States, would be knowing where animals came from that might be infected or where animals that are infected may be moving to. To minimize economic impact - we need traceability within the system.”
Ibach sees both the industry itself and the USDA playing a role in the development of such a system. Speaking for the USDA, Ibach says his department could assist by developing the necessary frameworks that this system would be built around. One of these frameworks he suggests would be the facilitation of the use of electronic health certificates that could move more rapidly between states. Another would be to define what pieces of information is needed from states for animals that are moving in interstate commerce.
In addition, Ibach views the industry playing a role that would define the technologies and software needed to effectively facilitate the transmittal of that data between producers and the different segments of the industry. The one remaining question, however, is where the funding will come from to actually implement it. Ibach suggests the financial burden be spread between both the government and the industry.
“It’s a partnership - USDA will pay for part of it and the producers and the public needs to understand the benefit to them as well,” he said, reminding us of the potentially devastating consequences an outbreak could have financially on the entire industry if an outbreak did occur with no system in place to control it.
Listen to Ibach and Hays discuss the necessity of an ADT system in the US beef marketing chain, 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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