Although animal disease traceability (ADT) became a fact of life for U.S. beef producers and veterinarians in March 2013, some implementation details remain in the “hammering out” stage.

This week’s Joint Strategy Forum on Animal Disease Traceability focused largely on harmonizing the compliance process across states and tribes, to facilitate market efficiency while achieving the program’s goals of traceability for timely and effective intervention in case of a disease event.

A key feature of the ADT rule is the USDA has turned implementation and management over to individual states and tribes, meaning that within the rule’s guidelines, states can choose their requirements for cattle coming in and can negotiate agreements with other states on types of documentation they will accept. That feature allows considerable flexibility for state animal-health officials to craft a system that works for their producers, but also creates potential confusion or compliance challenges for producers, veterinarians and market personnel.