“Animal health is a non-competitive issue,” says Terry R. Fankhauser, Executive Vice President of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, the Colorado affiliate of National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and Moderator for the upcoming NIAA/USAHA-hosted Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability.
“Good animal management and stewardship should be on the same page,” says Fankhauser. “It’s a team sport.” He brings a producer perspective to the table, and a strong understanding of how animal health crosses so many entities
The Strategy Forum is very timely. After several months of various outreach activities, including public meetings and working sessions on the Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) program, feedback and suggestions from a state and federal working group addressing current traceability gaps will be presented.
Forum participants will have an opportunity to discuss those preliminary recommendations and suggestions, which will help the USDA when considering how to move forward with ADT from a program perspective.
“Programs must work at the speed of commerce,” says Fankhauser. The Forum can help envision how that takes shape and form. “A meeting such as the Forum can dig into the comments that come from the industry, and point to what additional detail needs to be focused,” he says. It’s an opportunity to take the high-level conversations and roll up your sleeves and dig into the detail.”
Another topic at the Forum, to be featured in a panel discussion, is Livestock Traceability data, current programs and systems, requirements identified on movement, new ways that will be accessible and cost effective to collect data, and if the 2012-era Standards meet today’s needs.
Again, the Forum provides an opportunity for producers and industry stakeholders to add to the conversation about what needs to be addressed. “Before we move from tracing 200,000 head of cattle to millions of head of cattle, that is, adding feeder cattle into the system, we better have our procedure perfected,” says Fankhauser. “I expect some of that process to come out of a meeting like this.”
Fankhauser notes the strong working relationships in previous programs dealing with existing diseases and eradication, preemptive at all levels for diseases from other countries, and the preparedness which has come from those programs. Those, today’s Livestock Traceability Standards and the ADT program, he points out, are all for one thing: To protect the livestock industry in case of a disease outbreak.
Fankhauser commends both of the Forum’s co-hosts, NIAA and USAHA, for the transparency of the process they are embarking upon. “It's not just what you do, but how you do it, and bringing issues out front and center, engaging stakeholders, builds trust,” he says. “NIAA has perfected the process of not just presenting important information, but providing the opportunity for feedback, discussion and input.
“It is fortuitous to have this time following the ADT sessions, with the bulk of information that needs to be sifted through and considered. This is the right step to take these comments through.”
“As we come up with frameworks, producers will come up with what works best for them,” adds Fankhauser. “They will come up with their own definition of the ‘speed of commerce.’”
The Strategy Forum will be held September 26 -27, 2017 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Denver-Stapleton North, Denver, Colorado. Register at the NIAA website under Events>Livestock Traceability Forum at http://www.animalagriculture.org/ .