In Kansas, the cattle industry, state agriculture officials, Kansas State University experts and others have teamed up to launch a new offensive – the Cattle Trace project – to achieve a truly comprehensive national cattle traceability system. The goal of a national system has posed challenges for many years, slowed in part by producers' desire to protect their cattle business records. USDA did manage to complete its Animal Disease Traceability regulation in 2013 for cattle and other grazing species. It applies to many cattle moving interstate but exempts huge swaths of the U.S. herd, including all animals under 18 months of age, those going directly to slaughter, and more. The Cattle Trace pilot project will use ultra-high frequency technologies to collect the minimal data necessary, including an individual animal identification number, a GPS location, and date and time, in order to track animals in the event of a disease outbreak. Tag readers will be located at livestock markets, feed yards and beef processors. Movement data collection will begin in fall 2018, and the project will continue for approximately two years. “The development of Cattle Trace is a direct result of proactive leaders in the Kansas beef industry recognizing an opportunity to develop a traceability system that works for producers,” said Kansas Agriculture Secretary Jackie McClaskey. “We have seen tremendous leadership from industry partners ready to step up and take an active role on this critical issue.”

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