TOPEKA – The Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) is one of the key partners in a new cattle traceability pilot project. Cattle Trace will involve an end-to-end disease traceability system beginning with cow-calf producers and ending at the beef processing plant. A number of ranches, feedyards, auction markets and beef processing facilities have volunteered to cooperate on the project. The goal is to utilize ultra-high frequency tags and readers to collect the minimal amount of data necessary for disease traceability at the speed of commerce.
In addition to KLA and private sector partners, the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) and Kansas State University are participating in the Cattle Trace project. It will be funded with both public and private resources.
Kansas is considered a good testing ground for the pilot project because it is one of the few states with sizeable producer populations in each segment of the beef supply chain. Cattle Trace organizers hope the Kansas model will guide the development of a cost-effective traceability program that can work at the speed of commerce at the national level.
KLA is supporting the project based on policy approved by members in December 2017. The resolution supports a mandatory national individual animal disease traceability system for all cattle that minimizes costs to producers, optimizes the role of the private sector and protects the confidentiality of individual animal owner records. It also suggests the KDA Division of Animal Health should be the state agency that manages any disease traceability plan.
“The Cattle Trace project matches those member policy priorities,” said KLA Chief Executive Officer Matt Teagarden during a June 30 event near Ellinwood announcing the project.
On a broader scale, the project will help meet the objectives of the current Beef Industry Long-Range Plan, which emphasizes the importance of adopting individual animal traceability to help manage any potential disease outbreak.
“We are excited to be part of this effort to move traceability forward for Kansas producers and, ultimately, the entire U.S. beef community,” said Teagarden.
KLA is a 5,500-member trade organization representing the state’s livestock business on legislative, regulatory and industry issues at both the state and federal levels. The association’s work is funded through voluntary dues dollars paid by its members.