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Is this the end of brands?

tenbach79

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Article that was in the paper today. Not sure what to think.

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STORY STATS
DENVER AND THE WEST
As U.S. turns to ear tags over brands, cattle ranchers fear end of tradition
By Colleen O'Connor
The Denver Post
POSTED: 07/30/2011 01:00:00 AM MDT


Ordway rancher John Reid holds some of the irons he uses to brand livestock on his ranch, the Reid Cattle Co. The USDA is expected to release new interstate rules requiring individual cattle to be identified by a number stamped on an ear tag. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post )
The future of the hot-iron brand, an icon of Western heritage, is at the center of a nearly decade-long battle over cattle identification and traceability.

"It's the latest hot lightning rod," said John Reid, an Ordway rancher who is past president of the Colorado Independent CattleGrowers Association.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected soon to release a draft of new regulations, which will remove the hot-iron brand from its list of official identification for cattle sold or shipped across state lines.

The new rules will require each animal to be identified by a number stamped on an ear tag.

States would still be able to use brands as official IDs within their boundaries.

Individual agreements between states can be reached to allow brands as official IDs for interstate movement.

Critics fear this is the beginning of the end for America's centuries-old branding tradition.

"The federal government's action sends a signal to the entire industry that the ear tag is a superior means of identification," said Bill Bullard, chief executive of the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund.

They argue that ear tags can fall off or be stolen by thieves, so are not a good form of official ID.

Colorado state veterinarian Keith Rohr, who has participated in creating the new rules, said that brands don't work for tracing animal disease back to its point of origin.

Tags needed for export

"Processing plants do several thousand (cattle) a day, and they can't stack hides up like pieces of paper," he said. "We understand that for Western states, the heritage of brands is very valuable and means a lot for herd ID. We would never change that."

Colorado's cattle producers are "almost universally" ready for the new program, he said. "It's a minority of producers who oppose it."

State brand commissioner Rick Wahlert said nothing will change for the state's cattle producers.

However, the new system is a critical element of participation in the global beef-export market, he said.

"With international sales, if you cannot prove where your animal has been and where it came from, they won't buy your product, or will buy it at a reduced price," Wahlert said.

Negative reaction to the new rules, he said, "is really about change, and a fear of the government being in your business."

Gerald Schreiber, a third-generation rancher in northeastern Colorado, already uses ear tags for identification within the herd but bristles at the new regulations.

"It sounds good on the surface, but anytime you get the Big Brother approach, I don't trust it," he said. "The brand has worked for 100 years, I don't know why they want to disregard it. In the West, branding is more than just a tradition; it's our identity as ranches."

First proposed in 2002, the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) was rolled out in 2004, spurred by discovery of the first case of mad cow disease in the U.S. in December 2003, which triggered fears about the safety of the nation's food supply.

But producers across the country were skeptical about the new program, which would require radio-frequency ear tags that would let cattle be tracked from slaughterhouse to birth.

Their concerns ranged from potential costs to confidentiality of information, including fears that animal-rights advocates would be able to gain information on ranchers through the use of the federal Freedom of Information Act.

"It got pretty ugly," said Ordway rancher Reid.

From 2004 to 2009, the USDA spent $142 million on NAIS, according to a Congressional Research Service report to Congress. Because it was a voluntary program, only about 30 percent of cattle producers participated.

In February 2010, the USDA announced it was abandoning NAIS in favor of a mandatory plan, called Animal Disease Traceability.

Loss of tradition

The draft of the proposed rule was due in April but has been delayed. It is now expected to be released within weeks, followed by a 60- to 90-day period of public comment. It will take an additional 12 to 15 months before the final rule is released.

The economic consequences of major animal-disease outbreaks are significant — from $30 billion to $100 billion in cost to the U.S. cattle industry, House Agriculture Committee chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., testified in a 2009 subcommittee hearing.

"Americans want two things," Rohr said. "They want to know their food is safe, and they have an interest in knowing where their food comes from."

Still, the plan to remove the hot-iron brand as an official method of ID across state lines has angered Westerners, who worry about a loss of tradition and the addition of more red tape to their businesses.

"The piece of the deal that is awfully hard for producers to understand is that most disease-traceability issues involve the herd more than individual cattle," Reid said.

If a rancher sent a herd to a processing plant, he said, "and they picked up one of those cows with a lesion on its lungs, the first thing they'd want to know is where the herd came from. The concern would be how many animals within the herd have it."

The brand is one of the oldest forms of herd identification, while ear tags, with their unique numbers, can trace back to each cow.

"So the question is," said Reid, "do we need individual ID or is herd ID enough?" :? :?
 

Angus 62

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I listened to a predecessor of Keith Rohr tell how worthless EID's were in tracking cattle possibly exposed to TB by a bucking bull. They ended up using brand papers. Bureaucrats live to create new rules to justify their existence.
 

mrj

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Well,guys, maybe bureaucrats do create too many new rules, BUT, R-CALF can't survive without a crisis to bring in the funds and members from among those who haven't paid much attention to what was going on out in the world away from the home place, either. That is the real driver to this fear of ADDITIONAL identification for interstate movement of cattle!

There are many people using MANY ear tags, as well as brands, very successfully. How many of you have a brand that is legal in ALL states, or even in more than ONE state???

mrj
 

nortexsook

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Pffff. Talk about a set up for fraud. Ear Tags? Realy who can't cut those out and put in new ones? Oh, implants you say? Same crap. The thieves among us will figure out a way to remove those as well. Maybe not so much for rustling but by folks working an angle on source or age verification.....



Just say no to big BROTHER!!!!!!
 

Soapweed

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mrj said:
Well,guys, maybe bureaucrats do create too many new rules, BUT, R-CALF can't survive without a crisis to bring in the funds and members from among those who haven't paid much attention to what was going on out in the world away from the home place, either. That is the real driver to this fear of ADDITIONAL identification for interstate movement of cattle!

There are many people using MANY ear tags, as well as brands, very successfully. How many of you have a brand that is legal in ALL states, or even in more than ONE state???

mrj

The BRAND is the key, mrj. We need to keep our brands, whether they are "legal" in more than one state or not. I am no more of a fan of R-CALF than you are, but I am extremely ticked off at the powers that be in our Nebraska Cattlemen organization (of which I am a member, along with being a member of the NCBA) for rocking the boat and even thinking of doing away with brands. A brand doesn't need to be "legal" in any more than one state ("registered" is probably a more appropriate word). If a brand is registered in one state, and proper bookkeeping and paper trails are followed, ownership is easy to determine and enforce. Branding is a system that has worked well for cattlemen for centuries. It is needed now just as much as ever, and sure doesn't need to be phased out at this point. :!:
 

jodywy

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big counrty common grazing. oh what fun it would be to cut cattle 3 or 4 ways by looking at ear tags and split ears, in a open pasture, or fence corner.
 

leanin' H

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Hot branding is cruel to cattle! :roll: That is the thought process that the radical animal rights nuts have! Just like horse slaughter, it is the beginning of an assault that won't go away without it being exposed for what it is....... an attempt to destroy ranching. If R-CALF OR NCBA can't see that, they are short sighted and naive! We must educate folks to the facts that are really factual! Not just propaganda!
 

Roundup

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Yes, this is the beginning of the end of branding.

It is just a matter of time and some consumers and retailers will demand unbranded cattle. Consumers will be able to scan a meat package with a Smartphone and follow the meat to it's orgin, along with ranch practices and certifications such as IMI Global. This is right now being developed by Michigan State University. Michigan State is not antibranding, but it will be a developing niche by retailers,---- driven by consumers, marketing, and of course the anti groups. I see the end of hot branding within 5-10 years.
 

nortexsook

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Funny how some folk's minds work(or don't work):

"Okay for me to eat this animal, not okay for Joe Rancher to brand him"
 

jodywy

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Roundup said:
Yes, this is the beginning of the end of branding.

It is just a matter of time and some consumers and retailers will demand unbranded cattle. Consumers will be able to scan a meat package with a Smartphone and follow the meat to it's orgin, along with ranch practices and certifications such as IMI Global. This is right now being developed by Michigan State University. Michigan State is not antibranding, but it will be a developing niche by retailers,---- driven by consumers, marketing, and of course the anti groups. I see the end of hot branding within 5-10 years.
not in open range common allotment which is alot of Wyoming, and Idaho
 

Roundup

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I am afraid that branded cattle, will become discounted cattle, not desired by the general consumer and export markets. I do not think branded cattle will all be illegal, just less in demand. I could be wrong, just adding my 2 cents.
 

WyomingRancher

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Roundup said:
Yes, this is the beginning of the end of branding.

It is just a matter of time and some consumers and retailers will demand unbranded cattle. Consumers will be able to scan a meat package with a Smartphone and follow the meat to it's orgin, along with ranch practices and certifications such as IMI Global. This is right now being developed by Michigan State University. Michigan State is not antibranding, but it will be a developing niche by retailers,---- driven by consumers, marketing, and of course the anti groups. I see the end of hot branding within 5-10 years.

Apparently that technology already exists in Japan. Many of our cattle (or rather "parts" of our cattle) are sold into foreign markets, and the consumer can scan a piece of meat and immediately see the complete animal history, birthdate, and a pic of the operations (we haven't had our picture taken yet so it just gives the ranch name) involved in raising that particular animal.

This whole brand issue is as bright as doing away with VIN numbers :roll: .
 

jodywy

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would rather have an animal that is discounted and able to sell it then have it breach a few fences split an ear and not beable to to prove it is still mine with out a brand or tag
 

Roundup

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Yes, all the technology is here, all it takes is the new type " UPC label " which is already on many food items, a data base and a Smartphone. The pilot program is just getting underway. The RFID and MSU's program has nothing to do with eliminating branding but the anti and liberal groups will be all over this as an alternative ID and source tracking system and the consumer will be driven to desire " Humane Beef ", then retailers and exporters become pressured, as well as restaurants. My guess is at some point the liberals will demand that all beef entering the federal food chain, such as hot lunch, food banks and prison systems, will have to be certified as not hot branded. This in turn pressures producers to produce what the markets will support. Maybe I am dreaming, but look at our society in the last few years. There is no reality connection to farmers and livestock producers.

This is already here, not speculation. What is yet to be determined is the effect on the marketplace 10 years down the road, that is only a guess.
 

tenbach79

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If its not broke then dont fix it is my opion. Brands are the only true and cost effective way of proving ownership.

Roundup, you made a great statement about humane beef. All the damm tree hugging, hippy PETA scum are the ones that a pushing this thing the most.
 

nortexsook

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The good thing about this recession is that as folks have less money and free time on their hands they get less involved with bullship like this. They start actually worrying about the affordability of food and have less tolerance for the "troublemakers" that are pushing up the price of a necessity with foolish "rules".
 

Soapweed

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Roundup said:
Yes, all the technology is here, all it takes is the new type " UPC label " which is already on many food items, a data base and a Smartphone. The pilot program is just getting underway. The RFID and MSU's program has nothing to do with eliminating branding but the anti and liberal groups will be all over this as an alternative ID and source tracking system and the consumer will be driven to desire " Humane Beef ", then retailers and exporters become pressured, as well as restaurants. My guess is at some point the liberals will demand that all beef entering the federal food chain, such as hot lunch, food banks and prison systems, will have to be certified as not hot branded. This in turn pressures producers to produce what the markets will support. Maybe I am dreaming, but look at our society in the last few years. There is no reality connection to farmers and livestock producers.

This is already here, not speculation. What is yet to be determined is the effect on the marketplace 10 years down the road, that is only a guess.

And the same nitwits that demand "humane beef" have subjected themselves to the pain of countless tattoos, doo-dads, and body piercings. The brief moment that a calf feels a smidgeon of pain from branding is all in the further best interest of the calf. With proof of ownership, the calf is the beneficiary of "pride of ownership" from the owner. Proper care and nutrition is the compensation. If a calf gets lost from its mother, the two have a much better chance of becoming reunited if both are wearing the brand of the owner. Brands have been and always will be a vital ingredient in successful cattle ranching. Oh, I forgot, the wacko liberals don't want ranchers and farmers to be successful. They would rather go hungry as long as their stupid agendas are followed. :mad:
 

Lonecowboy

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nortexsook said:
The good thing about this recession is that as folks have less money and free time on their hands they get less involved with bullship like this. They start actually worrying about the affordability of food and have less tolerance for the "troublemakers" that are pushing up the price of a necessity with foolish "rules".


:clap: :clap: :clap:

"hope and change"

I "hope" there will be some folks getting real for a "change"!
 

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