NIAA Prepares Next Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability

The forum takes place in Kansas City, Missouri, September 24-26, 2018. ( NIAA )

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) brings next steps identified in 2017 and 2018 to a new Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability, to be held in Kansas City, Missouri, September 24-26, 2018.

“We need to follow up on work that occurred last year and the subsequent work of the Cattle Traceability Working Group (CTWG) and begin to synthesize those efforts,” says Dr. Nevil Speer, NIAA Board Chair, speaking on the efforts from the group which grew out of the NIAA Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability in 2017.

A comprehensive and continued focus on cattle for this year’s Strategy Forum is understandable, according to Speer, who says the cattle industry is the most complex and the most fragmented. “There are 750,000 producers and most States operate on different systems,” says Speer. “NIAA brings everyone together to emphasize collaboration across segments and across states.”

Back in 2010, the National Institute for Animal Agriculture co-hosted with the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) a Joint Strategy Forum Animal Disease Traceability, and as the topic grew in scope and urgency, NIAA hosted another Joint Strategy Forum on Animal Disease Traceability in 2013. Federal rules took effect that year, requiring the use of official identification for certain classes of cattle moving across state lines.

Over the next few years, state programs evolved along with types of identification and documentation required for covered livestock crossing their borders. Technology advanced, and other benefits of traceability began to be discussed. Consumers became more interested in where their food comes from.

In 2017, NIAA co-hosted with USAHA their first Strategic Forum on Livestock Traceability. The Forum began the exploration of how technology, from RFID use to data management, influenced traceability across animal agriculture. The USDA Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) Program added to the interactive dialogue with updates and an assessment report of its implementation from 2013-2016, gathering important feedback from attending stakeholders.

Out of that vital 2017 meeting, the Cattle Traceability Working Group (CTWG) evolved to work collaboratively and independently across the various segments of the cattle industry to enhance the traceability of animals for the purposes of protecting animal health and market access. The overarching goal of the CTWG is to enhance cattle identification and traceability to a level that serves the needs of producers, marketers, exporters, and animal health officials. An update and report from the CTWG will be an important segment of this year’s Strategy Forum.

In early 2018, NIAA broadened the scope of the discussion by making Livestock Traceability: Opportunities for Animal Agriculture the theme for its 2018 Annual Conference, as well as with a follow-up workshop titled Traceability and the Real World. Bringing the topic to its entire constituency at its Annual Conference, NIAA highlighted the impact of traceability on livestock species across animal agriculture.

In addition to possible disease outbreaks, the conversation also turned to global trade concerns, biosecurity issues, brand marketing and place of origin labeling which concern and influence consumers, policy makers, producers and distribution industries.

Now, at the newest Strategy Forum this September, the CTWG, along with USDA, will be updating the industry on their work. Panelists will discuss traceability initiatives across the U.S. The opportunity for exchange will expand on global market dynamics, technology and innovation focusing on traceability. 

There will also be a Technology Showcase featured at the Strategy Forum, with the most current technology, products and services focused on cattle traceability.

Join NIAA and the animal agriculture industry in Kansas City, Missouri at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center September 24 - 26, 2018 for the next step forward in the livestock traceability discussion. Registration is now open at