BIXS funds to help ‘complete circle’ of cattle data flow

Additional funding for the Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS) is expected to help cattle producers and beef packers "complete the circle" of animal and carcass data.

The federal government on Thursday announced a further $3 million for BIXS during the annual meeting in Ottawa of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, which operates the system.

"This additional funding will enable the CCA to improve the quality of information available through BIXS and facilitate the transmission of electronic data from packing plants to the BIXS database," the government said in a release.

"The flow of fundamental information to the BIXS database will enhance the completeness of the data and reinforce the value of the BIXS program offering," said Travis Toews, the association’s outgoing president, in the federal release.

BIXS will be expanded to ensure "crucial data" is incorporated into its database, the CCA said in a separate release.

The ability to flow more data into the BIXS database will "complete the circle of information, and provide the incentive for producers to participate," Toews said in the CCA’s release. The expansion, he said, is "precisely what the Canadian cattle industry has been waiting for."

The improved data flow is expected to lead to "better management decisions, greater production efficiencies, reduced costs and improved overall competitiveness of the Canadian cattle industry," Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said.

BIXS, a voluntary web-based system originally developed by the CCA and Canadian Beef Breeds Council, was set up with $5.3 million pledged in March last year from the federal AgriFlexibility Fund, which will also put up the funds announced Thursday.

The database is meant to capture and exchange data linked to an individual animal’s unique electronic ID tag number, known as the CCIA (Canadian Cattle Identification Agency) tag or RFID (radio frequency identification) tag.

The ability to track and share relevant production, performance, health, genetic and carcass data is expected to help improve efficiencies at the ranch, feedlot and processing levels and allow for more precise targeting of beef for specific domestic and international market prospects.

The five-year (2009-14) AgriFlexibility Fund itself is not now accepting new funding proposals, although some already-approved AgriFlexibility initiatives such as the AgriProcessing Initiative and Livestock Auction Traceability Initiative remain open to proposals.

Related stories:
BIXS set for cow-calf producers’ use nationwide, Oct. 13, 2011
BIXS is born… ugly Dad but a real cute baby, Oct. 12, 2011
Feds to back beef producers, packers for IT upgrades, March 11, 2011

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