As I sit down to write this blog post, I like many of you, are reflecting on one of the most peculiar years of our lives. I never imagined that we would be wearing masks as part of our everyday outfits, nor be quarantined at home for multiple months earlier this year. While there has certainly been major disruption to our daily lives, I do believe there have been some positives to be learned over the course of this past year.
A gratifying opportunity for most of us was the opportunity to slow down and really get to enjoy our families. Whether it be spending more time with kids doing things they love outside, or the opportunity to spend time with your spouse without the hassle of traveling constantly, the pandemic awarded us with special moments that we may not have enjoyed otherwise in the typical hustle and bustle of our lives.
Given our daily mission here at U.S. CattleTrace, I would be remiss if I did not mention the overwhelming importance that a contact tracing system is for disease traceability. When I talk to producers, it used to be a challenge to explain what exactly a contact tracing system was. Now it has become a part of our daily vocabulary. As humans I think it is far too easy for us to downgrade the importance that a particular scenario or disease could bring to us. It is simple to say, “Well, I guess it could happen, but it’s not going to ever happen to me.” I When I first heard of COVID-19, I would never have dreamed of the situation that would unfold over the course of the next year.
The agriculture industry has constantly been labeled as a reactive industry, however, I do think over the course of the past few years we have taken major strides toward being proactive. You have seen examples of the beef industry working very diligently in the proper labeling of cell-cultured meats. While we’ve done a tremendous job starting to shift the perspective of others, there is still work to be done.
We as producers have an extraordinary opportunity in front of us to change the paradigm as it relates to disease traceability. Look no further than the current pandemic to see the need for a robust disease traceability system for our nation’s herd to protect not only our phenomenal food supply, but more importantly our livelihoods.