More than 200 beef industry leaders from across the country descended on Manhattan, Kansas, on Nov. 22, for the first-ever CattleTrace Industry Symposium. CattleTrace is an industry-driven effort that started in Kansas, has expanded to multiple states and is focused on building a disease traceability system for the beef cattle industry. The symposium provided opportunities for CattleTrace partners and other stakeholders to discuss the future of disease traceability and to provide feedback and guidance on CattleTrace and the advancement of disease traceability.

“CattleTrace was developed by and for beef producers,” said Brandon Depenbusch, CattleTrace, Inc., Board of Directors chairman. “It was humbling to have so many producers and partners participate in the symposium, and their feedback will be critical as CattleTrace continues expanding and progressing.” 

CattleTrace was launched in late June 2018. Since then, a disease traceability system has been developed and built, including ultra-high frequency ear tags, tag readers and a private database, owned by CattleTrace, Inc. To date, more than 50,000 tags have been distributed, which has resulted in approximately 150,000 individual sightings at cow-calf operations, livestock markets, backgrounding operations, feedyards and packers being transmitted to the database. Attendees of the symposium saw the first-ever public demonstration of a mock traceback using the CattleTrace system. Kansas Animal Health Commissioner, Dr. Justin Smith, says the CattleTrace system significantly enhances the ability to trace movement of feeder cattle in the event of a disease outbreak. 

In addition to observing the first-ever public demonstration of a disease traceback, symposium attendees gained additional insights about the costs and economic impact of implementing a full disease traceability system and were able to ask questions of CattleTrace leaders during a panel discussion. A highlight of the symposium was remarks from Dr. Andrew Moxey, a consultant with ScotEID, about livestock traceability in Scotland and the benefits of ultra-high frequency technology. Attendees also engaged with other CattleTrace partners in breakout sessions where discussion focused on the future of CattleTrace. 

“We have come a long way since CattleTrace was launched, but there is a lot of work that lies ahead of us to develop a national disease traceability system for the beef cattle industry,” said Depenbusch. “The feedback we gained at the symposium is not going to be put on a shelf and forgotten about. It will be used to help make critical decisions about the future of CattleTrace. We are excited about building new partnerships and continuing to expand CattleTrace, but more importantly, developing a disease traceability system to benefit our entire industry.”

To learn more about CattleTrace, visit www.CattleTrace.org or follow CattleTrace on Facebook or Twitter.

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