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Ranchers operate in a markedly different environment today than they did just five to ten years ago. As communication and technological advances have evolved, so have opportunities and challenges. Almost instantaneous news stories impact world markets. Food consumers hold food manufacturers to a higher and higher standard as detection methods improve the ability to identify risks. Genetic management and production practices are influenced by better information than ever before possible. These factors combine to bring a new set of circumstances to the ranch gate.
This paper will endeavor to describe the factors, circumstances, challenges and opportunities that revolve around “Traceback, Verification and Identification” and how they apply to beef producers in the United States today. In many cases, the impacts of pending legislation, policymaking and industry acceptance remain to be seen, but it is certain that these issues will continue to impose more and more external influences on ranches and ranchers.