This article was written by Jim Krantz, former SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist.
Farm or ranch calves may have added value if they are enrolled in an Age and Source Verification (ASV) program. However, verbal documentation of cattle industry production protocols no longer, in most cases, validates participation in specified product requirement marketing programs. Producers can no longer simply say, “My calves are source and age verified.” Third-party verification is a mandated part of this process. A signed affidavit is not sufficient.
Age and Source Verified status begins at the ranch or farm. Detailed records are critical in order to enroll cattle in an Age and Source Verified program. Individual identification and date of birth are the two most significant pieces of information required. Birth dates for particular calves is ideal. However, the date of the first calf born and the date of the last calf born are sufficient to document age of the calves within an enrolled herd. Vaccination, de-worming, implanting and health records are also recommended for Age and Source Verified Calves.
When cattle are enrolled and become USDA Age and Source Verified before leaving the ranch of origin, the cattle can then be managed by other producers at different locations such as sale barns, grow yards, backgrounders, or custom grazers without requiring those producers to be trained, approved and audited by a USDA program. In other words, intermediate producers can manage those cattle without becoming an “approved supplier”. Ranch programs are the only way cattle can be marketed through a traditional sale barn auction and remain eligible for ASV. To do so requires a tamper proof Program Compliant Tag (PCT) that can’t be reused if removed from the animal.
Enrolling cattle in these programs involves some type of evaluation by a representative of the company that offers the USDA approved program. Then those pre-approved ASV cattle can more easily transfer seamlessly into a feedlot program alleviating the need for auditing to be done by feed-yard staff since it was done within the ranch program.
For more information about the USDA PVP program visit http://www.ams.usda.gov and select “grading, certification and verification” then select “audit and accreditation services”.