Cattlemen from around area meet for summer conference

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; Cattlemen got a technology lesson Friday at Oakwood Plantation for the Mississippi Cattlemen Association summer conference.

Cattlemen from Mississippi, Louisiana and North Carolina were in a familiar atmosphere as they sat in a cattle barn at Oakwood surrounded by cows and horses. The barn contained approximately 25 people &045; and a few noisy cows.

According to Larry Gamberi, Adams County’s MCA president, most cattlemen from Adams County belong to MCA.

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At the meeting, representatives from Mississippi State University spoke to local cattlemen about new advances in technology in the cattle industry.

&uot;We need to look at the opportunities in front of us,&uot; said Mississippi State University’s Dr. Jane Parish.

Parish demonstrated new technology for animal identification and explained how the advancement helps data recording. An electric tag can be placed inside a calf’s or cow’s ear and a monitor will transfer the data of the cow into a computer data system.

&uot;The bottom line is recording,&uot; Gamberi said.

Parish likened the system to an &uot;animal Social Security number.&uot; Technical animal identification is still trying to be implemented.

&uot;This ain’t going to be a perfect system, but it’s something we’re going to have to work on,&uot; Parish said.

Concerns about government intervention and privacy with technology were also brought up at the demonstration.

John Queen, MCA’s vice president from North Carolina, said the government couldn’t see data unless the cattleman puts it in a database, although cattle will be tagged and data will be processed automatically when the cattle enters into commerce.

Parish reassured cattlemen about privacy protection with the tagging system.

&uot;Government won’t look at your tax records from your IDs,&uot; she said.

USDA and the cattle industry want to make the technology available to everyone, and memberships to various organizations, such as Farm Bureau, have programs that give discounts for new technical equipment, Parish said.

&uot;(Senators supporting the cattle industry) are giving us (cattlemen) a green light to proceed on what is best for us,&uot; Queen said.