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BEEF survey: Here’s why readers support cattle traceability

Nevil Speer Cattle Traceability
Cattle traceability has long been controversial. But surveys indicate a majority of producers support it.

Informa Engage Research recently performed a survey on behalf of BEEF to assess general attitudes and trends among producers. Results reflect 876 completed surveys from producers in all U.S. states except Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, South Carolina and Vermont.  

There are several important trends contained within the survey. Perhaps most significant are the general views surrounding traceability and/or animal ID systems. This week’s illustration highlights some of those perspectives. 

To that end, 62% indicated support for further development of a national traceability system. That’s roughly in line with a World Perspectives feasibility study conducted on behalf of NCBA: U.S. Beef Identification and Traceability Systems: Opportunities, Obstacles and Incentives Across the Value Chain

As noted in a previous Industry At A Glance column: The results from World Perspectives indicate that approximately 80% of cow-calf producers could be categorized as supportive toward those efforts. In other words, producers are generally on board with current efforts being proposed by USDA.   

Nevil SpeerCattle Traceability

Drilling down a little further, 82% of producers indicated that such efforts are important toward facilitating disease containment and traceback. What’s more, 76% indicated that such a system would provide the U.S. greater assurance when it comes to maintaining international market access. Last, half of the respondents perceive value when it comes to enabling prevention of stolen cattle and/or recovery of stolen animals.  

While not shown in this week’s graph, 58% of producers believe that some combination of producers, federal government, consumers, packers, state health departments and retailers should pay for mandatory traceability, above and beyond the current system.

Where do you fall in line with these results? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Speer serves as an industry consultant and is based in Bowling Green, Ky. Contact him at [email protected]

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