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U.S. CattleTrace

CattleTrace, Inc. names new member to the Board of Directors

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

Neil Bouray (left) discussing the UHF tag technology with Dr. Brad White, director of the Beef Cattle Institute at K-State

We are excited to announce Neil Bouray with Mankato Livestock, Inc. in Mankato, KS, has accepted an invitation to join the CattleTrace, Inc. Board of Directors. Established in August 2018, the CattleTrace Board is made up of five directors, and they are responsible for setting key policy and direction for CattleTrace, including developing the protocol for who, how and when the database is accessed for animal disease traceability. Other directors include Brandon Depenbusch, Innovative Livestock Services; Tom Jones, Hy-Plains Feedyard; Mark Gardiner, Gardiner Angus Ranch; and Ken Stielow, Bar S Ranch.

After serving one year on the board, Mike Samples, Farmers and Ranchers Livestock in Salina, KS, decided to step down. The CattleTrace Board of Directors and Advisory Committee want to recognize him for his dedication to the CattleTrace organization and pilot program. Mike and his team at Farmers and Ranchers Livestock continue to be supporters and partners of the program with the installed UHF readers collecting data at the market.

Thank you, Mike, and welcome, Neil!

First live demo of CattleTrace at a Kansas Livestock Association Field Day

At a recent Kansas Livestock Association Field Day held at MoAg Co. outside of Emporia, KS, CattleTrace teamed with Micro Technologies, one of the pilot project technology partners, to demonstrate how data is collected using ultra-high frequency (UHF) technology. Cattle with UHF tags were moved down an alleyway past four antennas, attached above and on the side, which collected the four data points – the time, date, location (of the reader) and the animal ID. The information instantly appeared on the video screen for the 140 ranchers in attendance.

With the goal of building a system that operates at the speed of commerce, demonstrating the use of UHF technology provided the opportunity for the attendees to see it in action. Thank you to Jaret and Shawna Moyer for allowing us to use their facilities for the demonstration.


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.


Board Perspective

As previously mentioned, the CattleTrace, Inc. Board of Directors includes five members. Their task is to determine who, how and when the data is accessed in the event of an animal disease outbreak event. They represent the cow-calf, seedstock, cattle feeder and livestock market segments, and serve as the beef industry representatives setting the protocols for the CattleTrace program. We appreciate these volunteer leaders and look forward to what we can accomplish this next year. In an effort to highlight these board members, we are going to include their perspective in the next few newsletters. For this “Board Perspective,” we asked Brandon Depenbusch with Innovative Livestock Services the following question.

What do you believe is the greatest challenge in implementing a nationally significant traceability system?

Cost, liability concerns, and the notion that we have to trace 100% of the cattle, 100% of the time have been stumbling blocks in the past. I am confident we can work together as an industry to solve the first two concerns. The third concern is a little more challenging. I think the saying “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” certainly applies here. In the eyes of our foreign beef trading partners, a reasonable target of 68% of fed cattle and the national breeding cow herd is deemed satisfactory, according to the World Perspectives, Inc. report released by NCBA. I believe we can exceed this level if our industry can rally around the importance of disease traceability.