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CattleTrace expands to the Pacific Northwest

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

Check out this excerpt from the July 2019 newsletter. Want to subscribe for monthly updates? Go here.

CattleTrace expands to the Pacific Northwest

CattleTrace continues to expand our footprint by partnering with producers and organizations who share the vision of developing a more robust disease traceability system on the beef industry’s terms. Beef Northwest, a cattle feeding operation with locations in Washington and Oregon, is now a partner in CattleTrace, adding a new perspective and providing the opportunity for additional feedback on the program. We are excited to have them on board as partners and look forward to the opportunity to test the system at a national level.

CattleTrace announces next round of producer meetings

Dates and locations for the next round of producer meetings are now being set for late summer. We will be sharing a project update, in addition to recruiting producer partners. If you have interest in participating this year, whether for the second time or the first time, please contact us at 785-564-7446 or The list of scheduled meetings can be found below, and you can RSVP on our website at by following the prompts in the events section.

Please check Facebook and our website for other meeting announcements. We anticipate additional ones being scheduled the end of August through September.

The Tag Tracker

In order to build a dataset to test during the two-year pilot, three key production scenarios were identified to allocate the 55,000 tags in a purposeful way, enhancing the likelihood of sighting animals at multiple points of commingling.

Whole Path – Tag calves at the cow/calf segment before the first point of commingling. Ideally, all cattle would be tagged at the ranch of origin, but we know only a percentage will end up at partner livestock markets. That is why we are focusing recruitment at the cow-calf level with producers who may already do business with a partner livestock market. This ensures reads at the livestock market, feedyard and packer.  

Direct Buy – Working with our partner feedyards, we are identifying cow/calf producers and/or backgrounders to tag cattle before they arrive at the feedyard. This ensures reads at the feedyard and the packer segments.

Livestock Markets – Tag calves after they go through the sale ring at a livestock market, knowing they were purchased by a partner feedyard. This ensures reads at the market, feedyard and packer segments.

Partner Perspective

CattleTrace would not be where we are today without strong partners at all levels of the beef industry – from cow-calf producers, livestock markets, backgrounders, feedyards and processors, to allied industry organizations, technology companies and public sector partners, including state departments of agriculture and USDA. In addition to highlighting progress on the pilot project, we also want to recognize partners who have taken an active role in CattleTrace. For this “Partner Perspective,” we asked Mike John, director of the MFA Health Track program, the following question.

As a beef industry representative with MFA and a producer yourself, what do you see as the value to the producers who participate in CattleTrace?

I have spent the last 20 years helping producers document practices that add value to the cattle they sell.  It’s been a proactive choice, not a mandate, that has included traceability.  The power of being able to verify what we “did” is greater than what we “did not do”.  Another way to answer this question is observed at almost any auction market on sale day.  There are some producers that will stand up, identify themselves, and proudly talk about their cattle for sale that day, and others that drop them off and prefer anonymity as their selling tool.  Up until recently, there hasn’t been much difference in how either of them sold.  I believe those days are about to end and the producers who are willing to stand behind their product will have more leverage in consumer focused markets.  CattleTrace allows producers to stand behind their product AND not have their information freely shared without private oversight and permission.  That provides tremendous value to individual producers and to the entire industry.


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