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CATTLE TODAY

RED ANGUS FEEDER CALF CERTIFICATION PROGRAM EXPANDS MARKET ACCESS

by: Greg Comstock
RAAA Marketing Programs Coordinator

With a dozen years' experience in providing Source Verification to the ranch of origin, and USDA audited traceability to Angus genotype, the Red Angus Feeder Calf Certification Program (FCCP) recently expanded market access for its customers with the addition of Group Age Verification.

The FCCP was the beef industry's first Process Verified Program (PVP), and over the past decade has involved over 2,000 producers who have collectively enrolled over a million head of cattle. Many of these producers will notice changes in the program when they enroll their Fall 2006 or Spring 2007 calf crops. The first of these changes is the enrollment process itself, which consists of a new "Supplier Evaluation Process."

The obvious difference producers will encounter with the new process is the addition of a brief interview where Red Angus Marketing staff and the producer discuss breeding and grazing management practices, as well as date of birth records and documentation of birth and breeding records.

The second change mandated by USDA is that cattle be enrolled (tagged) at the ranch of origin prior to delivery to a sale barn, feedlot or other operation. While this may be an inconvenience in the short term, it will ultimately benefit the cow/calf producer. After all, the rancher will only be paid for value that is added prior to selling their calves.

A final change focuses on the auditing procedure. In the past, Red Angus Marketing staff performed random on-site audits of participating herds, which focused more on the cattle themselves for appropriate use of the ear tag and typical Red Angus appearance. However, now the emphasis of the audits will be on the producers' management practices and supporting documentation.

While the last 12 months have seen the emergence of several new USDA process verified age and source verification programs, the Red Angus FCCP remains the one that combines Age and Source regulatory compliance with genotypic access to Angus product lines and value added marketing services, which include:

-- Free feeder cattle marketing services

-- Access to value based grids and Angus product lines

-- USDA approved Age/ Source verification to supply Export Demand and Age/Source verified premiums

-- RFID tag uses USDA NAIS approved Digital Angel technology

-- Official FCCP program tag available as visual tag or matched set “combo” tag with RFID component

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