In the December 2003 issue of BEEF, our editors presented the beef industry's most comprehensive effort ever produced on electronic identification (EID) for cattle. Already a front-burner topic, the EID issue has received even more urgency in the aftermath of the discovery of BSE in a Washington dairy cow and USDA's decision to speed up the implementation of such a national program.

All that exclusive December issue information is available at in the “archives” section. A centerpiece of that coverage was the BEEF ID Survey, a detailed listing of companies, products and services. Conducted by Dale Blasi, a Kansas State University (KSU) Extension beef specialist, that survey is available in interactive form on the opening page of, a cooperative Web site venture between KSU and BEEF magazine devoted exclusively to the stocker production segment.

That survey, by the way, is an evolving project and is updated as new companies provide their information and companies already listed update theirs. With about a half-dozen new listings since the survey appeared a couple of months ago, it pays to revisit the survey occasionally.

But if you're interested in hands-on, one-on-one training on the why, what and wherefores of EID and traceback, you'll like a new program BEEF magazine is initiating this spring called BEEF ID Academy.

Another cooperative venture with KSU, the BEEF ID Academy is a two-day, intensive seminar to be held four times this spring and summer at the KSU ID Beef Facility located in Manhattan, KS. The workshops will teach attendees specifically about the issues surrounding automatic ID and the conversion of the captured data into usable information.

Upon completion of the two-day curriculum, set for June 2-3, June 14-15, July 19-20 and Aug. 2-3, participants will have learned:

  • the current issues surrounding individual animal ID;

  • the proposed standards for individual ID of animals;

  • the basic components of an radio-frequency ID system;

  • how to select the optimum hardware; and

  • the principles of Statistical Process Control and how to apply the learned concepts to commercial software programs.

Keep an eye out for more information on BEEF ID Academy in the coming issues of BEEF magazine and our free, weekly newsletter — BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly.

If you're not already among the 35,000 beef-industry subscribers to BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly, you're missing out on timely coverage of industry news and events. The newsletter, which is e-mailed each Friday afternoon, is devoted exclusively to news and information of interest to cow-calf producers.

But during the period from Dec. 24 to Jan. 6, BEEF editors published an additional four issues devoted purely to coverage of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) topic. The content included late-breaking news and updates on one of the biggest events to ever hit the U.S. beef industry, as well as analysis, opinion and an exclusive reader survey on producer attitudes in the post-BSE era. You can find that survey in this issue on page 20.

Find out what 35,000 weekly readers of BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly are learning each Friday afternoon. Sign up for BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly at and muscle up your beef industry reading on a convenient and timely basis.