“Producers trying to provide solutions for other producers,” is how Marshall Edleman, cow-calf producer and custom cattle feeder from Willow Lake, SD, explains the idea behind BeefOrigins, LLC.

The South Dakota-based business aims to offer information management solutions that can help Northern Plains producers expand their marketing opportunities while also complying with the pending country-of-origin labeling (COOL) requirements for identifying and tracking individual calves, he says.

“We want to offer a system that's more than just a regulatory system. We want to offer what's needed for regulatory purposes as far as USDA and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is concerned, what COOL will require, and also what is needed to take advantage of a value-added type of program,” says Edleman, BeefOrigins' CEO. “It's critical that we have a system that has all of that.”

BeefOrigins is a private company launched in January, which began accepting signups in August. It's a producer-owned service, Adelman says. He's the majority owner, while the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association holds a minority interest. In addition, three other unnamed producers are also investors.

The firm will use the information services provided by FoodOrigins, a division of John Deere Shared Services. BeefOrigins signups began August 1. On that date, producers were able to enroll cattle into the system.

The system will allow subscribers to collect data on individual animals with either manual or automated methods. That data can be intended merely for government compliance rules, or expanded production data can be collected for improving operational efficiency and building value.

The data collection options include manual-based CattleCard, the chuteside data collection and reporting application of BeefLink, or a third-party software. Then, the necessary data will be shared with the appropriate parties throughout the supply chain, a process facilitated by FoodOrigins.

Animal data is accessible via the BeefOrigins Web site that will provide various access levels to buyers, government agencies and subscribers. Through that same site, producers with advanced reporting capabilities can generate management reports.

Edleman says the program should dovetail in nicely with the ethanol production industry that's exploding in South Dakota. The state hopes to utilize the co-products side of that business to spur more custom cattle feeding in the state.

For more information, call Edleman at 605/625-2600 or visit the BeefOrigins Web site at www.beeforigins.com.