Thursday, December 23, 2004

Electronic Identification of Cattle

This author is not trying to get into the debate of promoting an animal identification plan but to provide information or location where more information can be obtained about such a plan.
     U.S Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman stated “All of these animal health issues point to the importance of the development of a National Animal Identification System, which is a key priority for USDA… Together, we must develop a system that works.”
     The United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) has endorsed a plan to implement a national system for animal identification as a work in progress.
     The U.S. animal Identification Plan (USAIP), as it is called, defines the standards and framework for implementing a phased-in national food animal and livestock identification program.
     The National Animal Identification Development Team that was comprised of a diverse group of livestock industry participants including producers, producer’s organizations, breed associations, marketers, processors, and state, federal animal health officials were given the task to develop a system to assist in rapid animal traceback in the event of an animal health emergency.
     To stay informed of the rapidly changing proposal and the implementation of a USAIP plan, producers and others with interests in the industry are encouraged to use Many of the rules and details of the proposed plan will become more evident as it moves through the political process.
     Another source of information can be obtained from Electronic ID, A User’s Manual published by Beef, December 2003.
     This issue of Beef was solely dedicated to examining animal identification (ID) using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. It was designed to add to the industry awareness of animal traceback in general and RFID technology specifically. The RFID technology appears to have the inside track to become the foundation of such a traceback system.
     The December 2003 issue included articles detailing the technology, its providers, the specifications, and to help the livestock producers evaluate and understand electronic ID.
     Kansas State University in cooperation with Beef magazine did an extensive survey of the products and services offered by various companies in the animal identification business. These results may be found at
     A Guide for Electronic Identification of Cattle produced by Kansas State University Agriculture Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service is an excellent publication providing an overview of radio frequency technology and its application in a national identification program for the beef industry.
     Establishing common data sharing standards is becoming critical to the future of the segmented beef industry. A collation of five leading agriculture data service companies have announced plans to create this industry’s first data exchange standards.
     The five participating companies:
  • AgInfoLink USA, Longmont, Colorado
  • APEIS Corporation, Norfolk, Nebraska
  • Emerge Interactive, Inc., Sebastian, Florida
  • IMI Global, Inc., Platte City, Missouri, and
  • Micro Beef Technologies, Ltd., Amarillo, Texas                  are establishing the Beef Information Exchange to address the need for a uniform set of data movement standards among the nation’s beef industry producers.
     Initially, the Beef Information Exchange will facilitate rapid and secure sharing of data required for a national identification system to address potential mandatory identification and traceback requirements. The system may be expanded to accommodate a greater variety of production data. Establishing common data-sharing standards creates a standard information platform, which will allow for greater operational efficiency, reduced supply uncertainties, and potentially lower costs.
     The time has come to learn more about an animal identification plan and make it work in our segmented industry.
 1. Cattle Health Report
 A National Institute for Animal Agriculture Publication
2. A Guide for Electronic Identification of Cattle.
    Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service
3. Electronic ID: A User’s Manual
    Beef Magazine, December 2003
4. Beef Production Medicine 2004

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