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Is Traceability Driving Consolidation?

National ID has been a comedy of errors and there's much concern in the countryside about what the program will mean for producers. But let's set aside the larger controversy about national ID and talk specifically about the mega-trend of traceability/accountability.

Brands have become a driving force in beef marketing. Alliances and entire new production systems have been created to help marketers make and keep promises regarding their product. As end-users demand and increasingly expect traceability and accountability, it's becoming a significant management trend.

There's little doubt integrated entities and larger production systems have been much better positioned to take advantage of these new demands. It's helped spur a new round of consolidation in the pork industry. It's providing enough competitive advantage for those in the cattle industry who can provide it that it will likely drive consolidation in our industry as well.

For smaller producers, the question is rapidly becoming, "how can I provide a product with the desired traceability in a cost effective and timely manner?"
-- Troy Marshall