Source and age verification Q&A |

Source and age verification Q&A

Question: Why is source and age verification (SAV) important?

Answer: Source- and age-verification is a result of consumers (national and international) wanting to know where their food was grown.

Q: Who can participate in SAV beef production?

A: Producers who comply with the guidelines of a USDA Process Verified Program can have their calves source and age verified.

Q: Is a calving book necessary?

A: Yes. The calving book is a record of what happened on your farm/ranch regarding the source and age of your calves. The calving book can be obtained from the NDBCIA office. A simple spreadsheet or CHAPS Input Form that lists the necessary information can also qualify as a calving book. Producers must submit the calving book to the NDBCIA office for validation during the SAV process.

Q: For how long is SAV good?

A: Calves need only be source and age verified one time. The Document of Record (data trail) follows the animal throughout its entire lifetime.

Q: If a calf is SAV through CalfAID™, can it meet other PVP requirements?

A: Yes. Each PVP may be a little different and producers need to meet the requirements of each PVP. The requirements of CalfAID™ PVP, however, remain and the calf needs to retain its identification (VID and EID) so the animal can be tracked.

Q: What are the minimum requirements for CalfAID™?

A: Each calf needs a visual and electronic identification (they could be separate or combined into one tag). The data in the calving book needs to match the tag information and be verifiable.

Q: How early can a producer SAV calves?

A: The desired scenario is to have the Document of Record generated before the calves leave their original home, however, aftermarket and/or back verification may be possible and is more expensive. It is best to submit the calving book and data a minimum of three weeks before marketing animals. For 2011, CalfAID™ participants who complete the SAV application and submit data before June 30, the cost to generate the Document of Record will be only $1 per head. The Document of Record price is expected to increase incrementally as animals age.

Q: When can I get the ear tags and what will the cost of the tags be?

A: Your local agricultural supply store is the best place to buy the tags. They should know the requirements for each PVP and can assist you. For 2011 CalfAID™ participants, preprinted calf books that match the VID and EID tags are available. Ask your tag vendor to contact the NDBCIA office to be part of the CalfAID™ SAV program. The cost of tags will vary by vendor.

Q: Do producers have to SAV their entire calf crop?

A: No. Some producers only want to SAV their steers, which is acceptable.

Q: What kind of sale premium can I expect for SAV calves?

A: The demand for SAV produced beef is on the increase. Export usage is increasing. More and more buyers are requesting SAV calves. To attempt to quantify a dollar amount could be misleading so the decision is left up to each individual producer.

Q: Is SAV for all producers?

A: No. While the NDBCIA CalfAID™ program that will SAV calves is available to all producers, the decision is an individual decision. Participants need to be committed to data collection and management details.

Q: What does is it cost to SAV calves for 2011 through the NDBCIA CalfAID™ program?

A: The investment is the time required to individually tag each calf and record it in a calving book, the price of the tag(s) and $1 per head (if SAV records submitted by June 30, 2011). SAV paperwork submitted after June 30, 2011, will cost more.

Q: How important is the Document of Record?

A: The Document of Record is an attest by the producer that the information contained in the calving book is correct and matches the VIDs and EIDs in the calves.

Q: How can producers become involved in SAV for their calves?

A: There are many process verified programs available through the USDA ( The NDBCIA program is CalfAID™. Information is available by contacting Mick Riesinger by e-mail: or by phone: 701-483-2348, Ext. 102.

Q: Can producers SAV calves after they have left the home farm/ranch?

A: If animals contained visual identification tags at the first site, it may possible but it is more expensive and there is no guarantee. Once animals leave their place of origin, many are commingled. The CalfAID™ team must physically visit the sites where the cattle may be commingled and verify the data. The cattle must also contain a VID and a EID to qualify for the NDBCIA PVP. This is discouraged because the success rate of back verification is very poor.

Q: How long has CalfAID™ been providing SAV for cattle?

A: CalfAID™ was certified on Oct. 3, 2005. It has been providing SAV since then. The certificate was renewed October 3, 2011.

Q: Is there an audit process for the CalfAID™ PVP?

A: Yes. The USDA audits about 2 percent CalfAID™ participants. The audits are random and the USDA sends an auditor to verify the process.

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