Cattle producers responding to a BEEF magazine survey conducted in early June overwhelmingly favor a national animal ID program for animal health monitoring and traceback purposes, even if it's mandatory. But only about 37% of respondents want the data to be controlled by either state or federal government.

The survey was delivered to 18,645 BEEF magazine subscribers on June 6, with 700 responding during the June 7-10 data collection period. Here are the results.

Editor's note: Question 12 asks: “Who do you most trust to maintain the database?” and offers “an industry group such as NCBA” as one option. NCBA would not control the data, but rather an animal industry consortium would. See page 23.

Question 1

Do you believe a national system of individual animal ID and traceback is needed for animal health monitoring purposes?

No 17.7%

Yes 76%

Don't know 6.3%

Question 2

Should such a national system for animal traceback be mandatory?

No 29.6%

Yes 62.9%

No answer 0.3%

Don't know 7.3%

Question 3

Are you familiar with the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) as proposed by USDA?

No 25.6%

Yes 74.4%

Question 4

Are you in favor of NAIS as proposed?

Don't know 45.1%

Yes 26.6%

No 27.7%

No answer 0.6%

Question 5

Have you registered your livestock premises with your state authority?

No 61.4%

Yes 37.3%

No answer 1.3%

Question 6

Do you plan to register your premises in the next six months?

Don't know 40.7%

No 22.1%

Yes 36.3%

No answer 0.9%

Question 7

Do you individually ID your cattle?

No 13.6%

Yes 83.4%

No answer 3.%

Question 8

If so, do you use electronic ID tags?

No 86.1%

Yes 12.3%

No answer 1.5%

Question 9

The working group advising USDA implementation in the beef industry recommends RFID tags be required. Do you agree?

Don't know 29.3%

Yes 44.9%

No answer 2.3%

No 23.6%

Question 10

USDA's Strategic Plan requires all livestock premises to be registered by Jan. 1, 2008, and all cattle entering commerce to be identified individually with official NAIS tags by Jan. 1, 2009. Do you believe the timeline is:

Too fast 15.3%

Reasonable 60.3%

No answer 3.1%

Too slow 21.3%

Question 11

What is your single biggest concern with NAIS?

Potential for liability by producers 16.9%

Confidentiality of data 22.4%

Cost of the program and labor requirements for producers 47%

No answer 2.6%

I have no concerns 11.1%

Question 12

Who do you most trust to maintain the ID database?

Federal government 17.3%

State government 19.4%

Industry group such as NCBA 41.3%

No answer 4.3%

Other 17.7%

Question 13

NAIS data will be accessible only to state and federal animal health officials. Should NAIS data (such as premises of origin and animal birth dates) also be accessible to meat processors and purveyors to verify cattle source and age for eligibility for export markets?

Don't know 15%

Yes 47.7%

No answer 3.4%

No 33.9%

Question 14

If NAIS is instituted would you try to capture other individual performance data on your animals in order to make better-informed management decisions in such areas as selection, breeding, etc., or to take advantage of other value-added opportunities?

No 7.6%

Yes 76.9%

No answer 3.7%

Don't know 11.9%

Question 15

Who should bear the cost of NAIS compliance at the producer level (cost of tags, cost of reporting data, etc.)?

Some combination of all these 65.6%

State government 0.4%

No answer 4.9%

Producers 11%

Federal government 14.7%

Other segments, such as feedlot, packer, etc. 3.4%