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CalfAID - A USDA Process Verified Program

Media coverage has transformed animal identification to more than a hot-button issue.
BeefTalk BeefTalk

By Kris Ringwall
NDSU Extension Beef Specialist

Cattle identification has received a lot of media coverage
these past few months. The coverage has transformed animal
identification to more than a hot-button issue and laid the
groundwork for a definable program.

The longer a program is discussed, the more time is afforded
for workable solutions to resolve the issue. In the case of
animal identification, large pieces of application still are
floating around with no real connectivity.

One area is surfacing and anchoring itself. The anchor is the
USDA Process Verified Program, offered through the Livestock
and Seed Program's, Audit, Review and Compliance (ARC) Branch
of the Agricultural Marketing Service.

The ARC has set forth procedures that can be followed
logically to allow for the approval through the USDA Process
Verified Program. The result is solid, defined programs that
meet the industry's need to provide source and age
verification of beef calves.

Since 1963, the North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement
Association has provided beef producers with data processing
and the analysis of beef cattle records. The NDBCIA has very
strict guidelines for confidentiality, accuracy and timeliness
of handling data.

With this strong background in effective beef recordkeeping, a
natural outcome for the NDBCIA was to dedicate the
organization's efforts to meeting the objectives of the USDA
Process Verification Program. The NDBCIA received a
certificate of conformance. The certificate allows the
association's CalfAID to market products under the USDA
Process Verified Program for the age and source verification
of cattle, electronic animal identification and traceback.

Within the industry, issues still exist. The quagmire may or
may not be getting better. The NDBCIA CalfAID program (the
only USDA Process Verified Program with North Dakota roots) is
one of 21 programs listed as an approved USDA Process Verified
Program. Additional programs have opted to utilize the Quality
System Assessment (QSA) program, also offered by USDA.

The beef industry is changing, inching toward the future. The
bottom line will be in the details and the ability of
producers to incorporate the mindset of "verification" as a
day-to-day cattle-marketing term.

As the details are worked out, producer involvement in the
NDBCIA CalfAID program is available. Producers can receive
participation forms from the NDBCIA office (1133 State Ave.,
Dickinson, ND 58601; (701) 483-2045).

Producers need to fill out a producer questionnaire and
registration and marketing forms. A copy of the calving record
book also is needed.

Upon approval, electronic identification (EID) tags, a tagging
tool and EID tag sheets will be dispensed. The EID tags can be
picked up in the office or sent through the mail or other

After the calves are tagged, the producer must submit a copy
of the EID tag sheet. The calves' visual identification (VID)
needs to be listed as a cross reference tag.

Participation in the CalfAID program requires producers to
make an investment of $5 per calf. The return on the
investment will be an electronic animal ID, source and age
verification through data management and traceback. There are
no hidden costs, no additional fees.

The CHAPS program and CHAPS input forms will be supplied back
to the producer to assist with the data management, which will
be handled at no extra charge by the NDBCIA office.

Traceback on the calves is to the extent possible and involves
the utilization of a front team in combination with detailed
market planning and individualized producer interaction.
Feedlot and carcass performance records are the desired
outcomes, but the NCBCIA does not guarantee it can gather the
data because last year some feedlots and finish yards cut the
tags out. The goal is cooperation with all segments of the

In the end, the calves will be ready to take on the world.

May you find all your NAIS-approved ear tags.

Your comments are always welcome at

For more information, contact the NDBCIA Office, 1133 State
Ave., Dickinson, ND 58601 or go to www.CHAPS2000.COM on the


NDSU Agriculture Communication

:Source: Kris Ringwall, (701) 483-2427,
:Editor: Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136,

There are three other versions and sizes of this graphic and are available on the PDF file provided below. There are three other versions and sizes of this graphic and are available on the PDF file provided below.
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