“Traceability is a challenging topic that touches every head of cattle across the country,” says Fischer. Different producers have a different point of view. “Some see it as value creation, others see it as an industry insurance policy, while some strongly feel it is an intrusion of privacy. The cattle industry, beef and dairy, is working hard to reconcile these perceptions on this challenging topic.”
NIAA brings together people with very different perspectives on this topic, but is uniquely positioned to bring parties together, according to Fischer, not to create a lobbying vehicle or to push one particular point of view, but to look for solutions that work for everyone.
“Check your hat at the door and be prepared to roll up your sleeves to work together to create industry-driven solutions,” says Fischer, who is the co-chair of the NIAA Animal Identification & Information Systems Council and works on the Strategy Forum Planning Committee.
First, the European union mandated traceability for livestock and that lead to programs in Australia, New Zealand and Canada for cattle within in those markets. Other markets followed. Those initiatives were primarily for disease traceability, but their systems evolved to benefit international trade. “Traceability systems can provide a “leg up” on other exporters who don’t have one,” says Fischer.
For the last 15 years, there have been renewed efforts in the US by Industry, State Animal Health Officials and the USDA to create a national traceability framework. The USDA’s Animal Disease Traceability system continues to evolve and to create an environment where industry can drive a traceability system which can cooperatively meet the needs of government, States, and industry. Fischer says the USDA is working very hard to move traceability forward as a key priority. “Under Secretary Ibach has a great team and they are very keen on finding out what solutions will work for the industry, and have shown that they will support those efforts,” says Fischer.
The USDA Traceability Team will be at the September Strategy Forum discussing how to advance key Traceability Initiatives and to discuss what is going to help create value for producers, markets, feeders, backgrounders, and the rest. “NIAA helps the USDA bring all stakeholders together to focus everyone’s energy to move this important initiative forward,” Fischer says.
Another featured report will be from an independent group which grew out of the NIAA 2017 Strategy Forum, co-hosted with USAHA. The Cattle Traceability Working Group, Fischer says, is not “beholden to NIAA or any other organization, nor is anyone obligated to adopt any ideas that come out of it,” but the 40-member group has come together to look at the challenges of traceability and address the topics around ID and traceability through five task groups.
Fischer, who is the North American President of Allflex, is one of many volunteers working in this Group, which will give an update at the September Forum.
“NIAA has been a facilitator for the ID discussions for the past two decades and this forum is another example of bringing together stakeholders in government, industry and production to work toward solutions that will work for all,” reiterates Fischer. “That is what NIAA does so brilliantly; it literally is a gathering point for the industry to solve some of its most difficult challenges.”
Join NIAA and the animal agriculture industry in Kansas City, Missouri at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center September 24 – 26, 2018 for this important and vital livestock traceability discussion and a Technology Showcase with the most current technology, products and services focused on cattle traceability.
Register now at www.animalagriculture.org