On page 14 of this issue, you'll find some of the overall results of an exclusive survey of 1,000 readers of BEEF magazine. Conducted last spring by Kansas State University (KSU) and BEEF magazine, the results indicate roughly a 50/50 split in support for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

As part of the survey performed by KSU graduate student Sharon Glaenzer Breiner, respondents were asked to indicate their organizational affiliations. In a cross-tabulation of survey results from respondents who indicated affiliation with either the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) or Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF), researchers found 49.5% of NCBA respondents had registered their premises, while 26.2% of R-CALF respondents had.

In addition, R-CALF respondents trailed NCBA respondents significantly in their belief that “NAIS was necessary,” “the NAIS implementation timeline is practical” and “the implementation of NAIS is overdue.”

R-CALF and NCBA respondents reported similar levels of familiarity with NAIS, the electronic ID systems available to producers, and the capability of their individual operation in adopting NAIS.

Other differences between organizational respondents:

  • While both NCBA respondents and R-CALF respondents rely most heavily on cattle magazines as sources of information, NCBA respondents indicated a greater reliance on university specialists and Extension bulletins than R-CALF respondents. Meanwhile, R-CALF respondents rely more than NCBA respondents on “newspapers” as sources of information.

  • R-CALF members expressed a higher level of concern than NCBA respondents about the cost of NAIS and the potential liability NAIS may pose to producers.

  • NCBA respondents view NAIS as significantly more important — than their R-CALF counterparts — in regaining foreign markets, monitoring disease, increasing consumer confidence, enhancing food safety, and increased profitability. Only in “managing the supply chain,” do R-CALF respondents match the level of importance indicated by NCBA respondents.

  • R-CALF respondents indicate greater opposition to NAIS than NCBA respondents (4.17 to 3.12, where 6 is strongly opposed).

  • About 70% of NCBA-member respondents indicate use of a personal computer in their operations, while 60% of R-CALF respondents do.