Cargill has recently joined U.S. CattleTrace as an official packer member, in an effort to help develop a national infrastructure for animal disease traceability in the U.S. cattle industry.
The goal of U.S. CattleTrace is to help animal health officials by responding to foreign animal disease events within the U.S. cattle herd. Tracing animal disease outbreaks will help control impact to daily operations and help maintain access to beef export markets.
U.S. CattleTrace collects data on animals in the U.S. beef system by using eartags and radiofrequency technologies. Data includes individual animal identification numbers as well as the date, time, and GPS location of the animal. In the event of an animal disease outbreak, animals can be tracked. Animals can also be tracked from birth location to each location they move to during the harvesting process. Ear tags with electronic chips interact with the radiofrequency emitted by the reader.
The new U.S. CattleTrace initiative combines the efforts of CattleTrac, which formerly included multiple partners from across the U.S., with traceability pilot projects in Florida and Texas. The partner organizations include the Kansas Livestock Association, Florida Cattlemen’s Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, and Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association.
In August 2018, CattleTrace Inc. was established as a private, not-for-profit corporation to maintain and manage the data collected as part of the disease traceability pilot project. A board of directors with representatives from cow-calf, livestock market, and cattle feeding sectors was then named to lead CattleTrace Inc. In January 2020, the board voted to change the name to U.S. CattleTrace Inc. to establish itself as a multi-state initiative.