Extension and Ag Research News


Cattle Producers Offered Incentives to Enroll in Verification Program

Beef buyers are paying premiums for age- and source-verified cattle.

North Dakota cattle producers have some new reasons to enroll in a program that verifies the age and source of the animals they sell.

Some meat packing plants are paying a premium of $25 to $30 per head for cattle that are age and source verified, according to Karl Hoppe, Extension Service area livestock specialist at North Dakota State University's Carrington Research Extension Center.

Also, major beef-buying companies, such as McDonald's and Wal-Mart, are starting to require verification of the source of the meat they buy. The Japanese market reopening to U.S. beef is increasing the demand for age and source verification as well.

Age and source verification programs allow agricultural producers to assure customers they are providing consistent, high-quality products.

""Now is the time for producers to get enrolled in a verification program for next year's sales,"" Hoppe says.

""Participation also has the potential to add further value to this spring's calves when it comes time to marketing this fall,"" says John Dhuyvetter, area livestock specialist at NDSU's North Central Research Extension Center in Minot.

Cattle producers have several options. Breed associations, marketing services and data management companies offer programs providing animal identification and source and age verification.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has certified 14 process verified programs (PVPs) for age and source verification specifically for cattle. CalfAID, one of the USDA-certified PVPs, is available from the North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association in Dickinson. To learn more about the USDA's PVPs, visit its Web site at http://processverified.usda.gov/. For a list of PVPs, check out http://processverified.usda.gov/LSOfficialListingPVP.pdf.

The enrollment process takes about one to three months, although it may be less in some cases.

The key to age and source verification is documentation and recordkeeping on the ranch, according to Dhuyvetter and Hoppe. Producers must provide proof of each animal's age and origin.

""At a minimum, a calving book is required for on-farm records,"" Hoppe says. He recommends producers also have a backup copy of those records in case the originals get lost.

The North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association provides CHAPS (Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software), a computerized recordkeeping system to help producers track their inventory and evaluate cow profitability, herd reproduction and calf performance. For more information on CalfAID and CHAPS, visit the Web site at http://www.chaps2000.com/calfaid/calfaid.htm.

Producers also need a system of identifying each animal with a unique number. In most cases, that's accomplished through the use of ear tags.

Feed yards and meat packers must be enrolled in a verification program, too, if they want to reap the benefits of buyer premiums.

""Every link along the chain needs to maintain a process verified program,"" Hoppe says.

The USDA also has certified nearly two dozen quality systems assessment (QSA) programs for age and source verification. To learn more about QSA programs, visit http://www.ams.usda.gov/lsg/arc/qsap.htm. For a list of programs, see http://www.ams.usda.gov/lsg/arc/LSOfficialListingQSA.pdf.

""Each program can have different rules and costs, so be sure to investigate which program works best for you,"" Hoppe says.

Agriculture Communication

Source:Karl Hoppe, (701) 652-2951, karl.hoppe@ndsu.edu
Source:John Dhuyvetter, (701) 857-7682, jdhuyvet@ndsuext.nodak.edu
Editor:Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.