Table of Contents:
- Liability Risk Is Beginning To Flow Down The Beef Production Chain
- Assurances will have to be made
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is moving forward with its traceability initiative. The debate is no longer about whether or not it is going to be required, but how do we create a system that minimizes the costs and does not impede the flow of beef commerce?
Eventually, it will be understood that any time an animal changes hands, assurances will have to be made; it will simply be seen as a necessary cost of doing business – like brand inspections and health papers. In the short term, it will pose challenges, especially for the sale barns across the country.
Perhaps, to make it easier, the industry needs to standardize and create such forms. Currently, we have different buyers with different forms, even though they are essentially the same. Perhaps some entrepreneur will come up with a phone app that will enable producers to fill out and sign these forms electronically and store them on a cloud somewhere so they can be easily accessed.
This week, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced its plans for moving forward with its traceability initiative. There’s been a lot of concern in the country about traceability, but the marketplace is beginning to demand it to a degree that the argument is shifting.
Without question, there is a cost associated with this degree of record keeping. But the debate is no longer about whether or not it is going to be required, as the consumer has spoken. The question is how do we create a system that minimizes the costs and does not impede the flow of commerce?
With mandatory country-of-origin labeling, the great debate was whether it should be voluntary or mandatory. In regard to traceability, we have debated how the data should be stored, who will have access, and the degree to which the government should be involved. The marketplace is answering those questions by instituting a mandatory/voluntary program.
Of course, you have a right not to sign the affidavits. However, if you exercise that right, you also have to understand that those buyers will exercise their right to not buy your cattle.
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