“My goal is to challenge everyone to coalesce around the fact that we need beef producers to want this, not just make them use it,” says Chip Kemp, Director of International Genetic Solutions (IGS) and a featured speaker at the upcoming NIAA-hosted Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability, to be held in Kansas City, MO in September.
“Is there an appetite for producers to willingly do this?” asks Kemp, referring to traceability of US cattle. From a historical perspective, he adds, tracking animals in case they are sick is pretty straightforward, but when the discussion turns to data sharing, doing that in a way that adds value to a producer to be involved voluntarily will have a great deal more success than something they may resist as they are concerned about being managed.
He adds those who have voiced concerns about data usage have been unfortunately and probably unfairly dismissed. “The primary fear,” he says, “is the ‘trace’ part of traceability, which means to some ‘find me, know me, supervise me.’
“My presentation at the NIAA Strategy Forum is about how collaborative efforts within an industry, with incentivized responses and results, can help make data collection appealing,” Kemp says.
As far as Livestock Traceability systems in the US, he says, why not try a different tact? “We have been going down this path for 20 years and still have concerns, so perhaps we are better served to provide something in which producers find added value,” he says.
Another point Kemp makes is about technology. He sees too many discussions on how to fit systems into existing technology, instead of building a model that meets the expectations and needs of the industry, and then building the tech to make it happen.
“NIAA is excellent at bringing a whole bunch of different voices together, seeking and expressing vision, guidance and leadership in order to find consensus and promote collaboration,” says Kemp. “Livestock Traceability has to be an empowerment play, not accountability play, and when we get people on board with that, choose what we want out of it and find the tech to do it, we can quit talking about it and get it done!”
The 2018 NIAA Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability will be held in Kansas City, Missouri at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, September 24 – 26, 2018 and will feature reports from the USDA traceability team and the Cattle Traceability Working Group, as well as a Technology Showcase with the most current technology, products and services focused on cattle traceability.
Register now at www.animalagriculture.org