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BIXS Continues To Evolve & Deliver

By Deborah Wilson Sr. vice-president, BIXSco Inc.

The Beef Info Xchange System (BIXS) has been making strong inroads with all of the stakeholders in the beef industry. 

In July, an agreement was reached with Cargill, Canadian Beef Breeds Council and Canadian Cattlemen’s Association to have case studies conducted to demonstrate the value of carcass data to the cattle/beef industry.

The groups conducting these studies have been selected and include seedstock as well as commercial entities. These case studies will explore the correlation of carcass data to genetics, but in general will explore what it brings to the industry.

The time frame for these studies is very short, to be completed in early November and presented to the next Beef Value Chain Round Table meetings.

We were pleased to receive the commitment from these groups to co-operate on this project and expect to see some real progress resulting from this.

As one of the stakeholders in this industry, we expect to see many different value propositions to evolve out of these co-operative case studies.

As an industry, we have insisted we needed, or demanded, the right to carcass data, but we have never explored value propositions for the various stakeholders, including the packers. I see this as connectivity and collaboration within an industry that has historically struggled to have the various stakeholder groups co-operate and work together.

Our industry research conducted in June indicated that BIXS needs to become a winning proposition to everyone in industry.

Our IT department has continued to collaborate with the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency’s IT department to work out data flow issues and glitches as they arise, as well as preparing for an anticipated increase in data flow moving forward.

It has been inspiring and encouraging to see these two departments, from two important industry organizations, work collaboratively.

Having a functional data flow with the Canadian Livestock Tracking System is key to the success and credibility of BIXS. Any age verification's entered in CLTS will automatically flow into BIXS, provided the producer is registered in BIXS.

Additional information can be uploaded into BIXS featuring management protocols, breed, color, etc. We also have some collaboration happening with the pharmaceutical industry to track producers enrolled in health programs.

The BIXS data management system continues to evolve, with the ability to apply an action to many animals at once, as opposed to entering the action one animal at a time. This was one issue identified as a priority early on. This “fix” is nearly completed and expected to be functional soon.

We also have added the ability to recognize operations involved in the McDonald’s Verified Sustainable Beef Pilot Project enrolled and verified. Our IT director has continued to meet the deliverables required of the pilot project, which has pleased the project manager and McDonald’s. BIXS has demonstrated the ability to track cattle through the production chain.

Why is this necessary? Animal traceability is not unique to Canada nor to the cattle industry. Countries around the world struggle with how their traceability systems should work and what is required of producers.

The requirement for food animal traceability is being driven by consumers, who want to know where their food comes from, how it is raised and that it is safe.

The consumer is demanding a basic right to have access to that information. As an industry, we can no longer ignore this requirement on the part of our customers, nor can we ignore the advent of the ethical eating movement and the value branding that is being utilized by major retailers.

How far has BIXS come? I feel that there is a total shift emotionally and mentally by producers as well as the other stakeholder groups. Connectivity in industry is apparent. It’s less about cattle and more about people and organizations co-operating.

Visit the BIXS booth at Farmfair and Canadian Western Agribition this fall, or look for us at many of the industry meetings that will be held early in 2016.

Stay tuned for the launch of the new BIXS website in the coming months. Or register on BIXS to see for yourself at www.bixs2.ca. All you need is your CCIA account number (not your PID), and a few more details that you already know.