Gathering data should be easy: Just ask the right questions, get simple answers and store it until needed, right? Not necessarily.

When it comes to livestock traceability data, there are a lot of moving parts.

A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), or ‘health paper’ accompanies livestock when transported from state to state. Its purpose is to make any animal disease outbreak easily traced back to its source. Standards from USDA in 2012 gave generalized guidelines on what should be included in a CVI, but that was five years ago.

To provide more clarity to the issues, Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Justin Smith, DVM, will moderate a panel discussion on ‘Making Standards and Technology Work’ at the 2017 Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability, Sept. 26-27 in Denver, Co.

How to gather the pertinent data, what to include, how to meet various state requirements and how to transfer that data to where it needs to go, while conserving privacy, are continuing issues to be discussed.

Technology’s Role
What used to be a paper-printed form has changed with technology, and industry sources provide formats of electronic health papers with different structures and capabilities.

“We’re not able to get all of the data electronically yet,” says Smith, “But we are light years ahead of where we were in 2012. To be able to exchange data efficiently, we first think the paper form will become a thing of the past, but…there will always be some places that depend on a printed form, and that has been one of the hurdles of creating workable standards.”

State animal health officials approve the forms they will accept, and those forms have to meet U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA) data standards for the information to flow into the database seamlessly. As technology continues to impact systems, the industry must be innovative and be able to discern what will be easily applicable and what may easily become antiquated, Smith notes.

“A few years ago, our method of handling data was to file it away and never look at it unless there was a problem. Now we have expectations of protecting, storing and passing data with more accountability and with assurance that the data is sufficient and correct,” he says. “We have to keep it simple if we are to move at the speed of commerce. The Forum provides an opportunity for producers and industry stakeholders to add to the conversation and let us know what needs to be addressed,” Smith says.

Official ID numbers were not totally addressed when the original standards were written, and with more emphasis on animal ID, the need to know who is responsible for applying tags and bearing the brunt of the cost is critical. A USAHA data standards committee is reviewing the present Standards on ID and looking at what needs to be changed or updated.

The purpose of the panel discussion is to look at current programs and systems to see what is required to be identified on movement, what new ways will be accessible and cost effective to collect that data, and if the 2012-era standards meet current needs. The 2017 Forum is hosted by the National Institute of Animal Agriculture and the U.S. Animal Health Association and will be held September 26 -27, 2017 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Denver-Stapleton North, Denver, Co. Register at the NIAA website under Events>Livestock Traceability Forum at .


“The Forum provides an opportunity for producers and industry stakeholders to add to the conversation and let us know what needs to be addressed,” Smith says.