South Dakota proposes state-of-origin labeling

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Feb 21, 2005
by WLJ
South Dakota is moving forward with a beef certification program that should boost profits for participating producers as well as meet requirements for a proposed animal identification program.
South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds is pushing for a South Dakota beef certification program because he says he is committed to raising the standards for beef production in the state and making sure that consumers all around the world know exactly what the state is doing.
“It’s a vision of South Dakota being known by consumers worldwide as the home of the ‘World’s Best Beef,’” said Rounds.
Gov. Rounds introduced the program as part of South Dakota’s 2010 Initiative. The goal of that initiative is to improve the economic future of South Dakota.
“The South Dakota Certified Beef program was created to make sure agriculture can continue to be our number one industry and provide new opportunities for our children and for future generations of South Dakotans,” said Rounds. He added that the plan is complete with a protocol, accountability, verification and a strong commitment to research and marketing.
The exact producer and processor protocols for this program have not been established. However, a bill, SB 220, is being considered in the current state legislative session that gives South Dakota’s Secretary of Agriculture the authority to promulgate rules to establish the program and protect the certification trademark.
The general premise of the certification program is to verify the source, age and process that they travel through. To qualify for the program, cattle must be born and raised in South Dakota. The cattle will be source verified at the farm or ranch of origin with a electronic animal identification (EID) tag. The South Dakota Department of Ag said the EID tags will need to be “scanned in” and “scanned out” of the premises they are moved to and the EID will help continually track these animals.
The brand of EID tag will not be dictated by the state, they only require that tags be ISO approved RFID tags. The producer will also need to choose the data management company and that company needs to be able to electronically interface with the state database. A list of compatible companies is available on the program’s website at
The biggest question on producers’ minds seems to be how this program will add value to their cattle. Eric Iverson with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture answered that question by saying, “The South Dakota Certified Seal of Confidence will emphasize and validate that South Dakota producers are delivering the highest quality, most wholesome and safest-source/process verified livestock to their customers. This marketing tool will standardize a set of protocols creating universal recognition to the brand allowing producers to remove themselves from the commodity livestock business and more effectively market the information that makes their cattle more valuable.”
The South Dakota Department of Agriculture also wants producers to be aware of the benefit this program offers through its ability to dovetail with other branded beef or animal identification programs that process verify cattle.
“The agriculture industry is changing in many ways. Striving efforts to restore export markets and the vast potential that exists for expansion into ‘claim specific’ markets lends way for the development of new source and process verified programs,” said Iverson. “Identity preserve programs will also assist in localizing a disease outbreak if one exists. Consumers are more informed and concerned about the beef products they purchase and that they are safe. A Customer Confidence Assurance Program, like South Dakota Certified, will assist in making customers aware of the sound production and management practices that go into South Dakota beef cattle production.”
SB 220 recently passed the state’s Senate Agriculture Committee on a vote of six to two. As of presstime Thursday, the bill remained on the Senate floor, but it had to be out of Senate by last Friday. The bill must pass the House ag committee and the House Floor before the governor signs it into law. “This bill should pass with huge support,” said Jason Glodt, senior advisor to Gov. Rounds.
Once the bill passes, South Dakota will initiate the administrative rules process. That will take 40-days and involves publishing a notice, waiting 20 days, having a public hearing, then allowing for a 20-day comment period. Once these procedures are complete, South Dakota can begin implementing the beef certification program.
Producers can participate in the program on a couple of different levels. Producers who just want to continue marketing live cattle at the various stages can participate in the South Dakota “Approved” Live Cattle Program, which will assist them in providing reliability to customers by verifying source, age and traceability claims. Other producers may see the benefit in forming arrangements with specific niche beef processors in South Dakota and the program will assist them in supplying and delivering South Dakota Certified Beef to customers around the world.
Producers can contact the Department of Agriculture at 605/773-5436 or 800/228-5254 for more information about the certification program.