Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

December 2005


Published for the Proceedings, The Range Beef Cow Symposium XIX December 6, 7 and 8, 2005, Rapid City, South Dakota.


Wow! What a difference two years makes. At the Range Beef Cow Symposium in 2003, we endeavored to address the topic “Traceback, Verification, and Animal Identification on the Ranch: Big Brother of Best Buddy?” On the very day of this presentation, December 9, 2005, a Holstein cow in the state of Washington was harvested and due to abnormalities observed in this cow, tissue samples were taken for further evaluation. Later that month, on December 23, 2003, it was announced that this cow tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). This event, along with associated policy from USDA, combined to rocket the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) forward. Correspondingly, programs have developed in the beef sector designed to verify, assure, and differentiate animals and products in the marketplace.

The purpose of this paper is not to reiterate all of the ramifications, producer attitudes or consumer feedback on the merits or challenges associated with is topic. Rather, it is our objective to simply “decode” the alphabet soup used in this arena. It is our supposition, that many cattle producers, academics and allied industry folks involved in the business lack understanding of many of the terms, programs, and purposes of certain acronyms that are being freely thrown around today.