If you have been reading CNGF’s articles in GoatKeeper magazine for the last several issues, you know that CNGF has undertaken a traceability project funded by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC). The overall outcome of the project is to prepare the goat sector for mandatory, national identification and traceability under the Health of Animals Act.  Key objectives of the project are:

  • Tags or identifiers for goats are selected
  • A traceability administrator for the goat sector is selected and contracted
  • A traceability system (implementation plan) for the goat industry is developed and
  • A communications strategy is developed and outreach activities are conducted

Funds received from AAFC by CNGF can only be used on the activities of the project towards meeting these key outcomes. This article outlines progress we’ve made to date and highlights progress we expect to make over the next several months.

Tags or Identifiers for goats are selected:

A field trial for selected identifiers has been undertaken that align with Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requirements. Many producers testing identifiers have completed the six month field trial and we have collected their feedback and final retention results.  Based on these preliminary results, specific identifiers are being lab tested for mechanical strength, temperature testing, tensile strength, etc. by Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, a lab accredited to conduct these tests.  Tags or identifiers must pass these tests in order to be approved as official identifiers.  Based on the test results and the final retention rates obtained from the field trial, we expect to put forward tags or identifiers for approval before the end of this year.  Two identifiers that have been pre-approved by CFIA will also be under consideration.

Selection of a traceability administrator:

The roles of a traceability administrator are to:

  1. Establish, manage and maintain computerized systems for collecting and maintaining regulatory data on behalf of CFIA;
  2. Issue/allocate approved tags/tag numbers under Part XV;
  3. Record tag identification information (or other ID devices) and stakeholder information to whom the IDs were issued; and,
  4. Protect the security, integrity and privacy of the data.

An administrator can also provide extension support to producers, communicate with industry, conduct tag trials, etc.

Last fall, CNGF requested proposals from potential goat sector administrators, and invited them to speak at the face to face meeting of the National Goat Traceability Committee held in March 2016.
As a result, CNGF decided to enter into negotiations with the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA).  It is expected that by the time you read this article, a Memorandum of Understanding will have been signed between the two organizations for CCIA to be the administrator for the goat sector.

Development of a traceability system for the goat sector:

In consultation with the National Goat Traceability Committee, work is underway to develop an implementation plan and a sustainability plan for traceability for the goat sector. As part of this work, CNGF completed a cost analysis that will inform the development of these plans.  The cost analysis gives CNGF the base information needed to determine how much producers are willing to invest into traceability and how much revenue will be needed to recover costs related to traceability.  It also gives CNGF the justification to seek outside start up and bridge funding for the first year of traceability and beyond.  It is expected that the implementation and sustainability plans will be drafted by early next year and completed in the spring.  Since they are working documents, CNGF will be amending them as lessons are learned with the implementation of full traceability.

Development of a communications strategy and conducting outreach activities:

While CNGF has provided periodic updates on the traceability project, we intend to ramp up our communications efforts as mandatory traceability approaches. In the coming months, we will be developing a formal communications strategy.  In addition, communications vehicles and materials will be developed and disseminated to producer groups and stakeholders who are in contact with goat producers.

It is worth noting that a condition of continuing to receive funds in order to carry out the project that CNGF must submit quarterly progress reports to AAFC. The reports must demonstrate that measureable progress towards the project outcomes is being made.  CNGF is accountable to AAFC not only for demonstrating progress on key deliverables, but also that funds are only used for activities that fall under the project.

The table below provides an overview of expected timelines related to the project.