Ranchers Respond to New State Regulations on Identifying Cattle

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Marianna- There's an old saying, 'we are what we eat'- but the Food and Drug Administration wants to know where 'what we eat' comes from.

"We've been talking about individual animal ID for about 6 or 8 years now" Cherokee Ranch owner and Florida Cattleman's Association Executive Committee member Mack Glass said. "It's a federally driven thing to identify animals so that in case of disease or an outbreak of some kind they can trace it back to its origination."

The feds tasked state veterinarians to come up with specific regulations for each state.

"The state vet tells the Florida Cattleman's Association that it's time to create a rule. And the state association says, 'Well, if it is time to create a rule, we would like to support you in that effort and be a part of creating the rules so that we feel like it's something the industry can live with and suits everybody.'''

Glass said not everyone wanted to 'live with' the new regulation- claiming: "'government intrusion', 'it's going to be hard to live with'. None of us like change" he said with a smile. But this change sat well with Glass.

"I see it as favorable" he said, "because if there is a suspected disease or outbreak and the cow comes from central or south Florida and the cow comes from central or south Florida, then it don't shut down my ability to market my cattle or discount my cattle.

Glass said even if some ranchers were rebuffed by the regulations, at the end of the day... "We're all concerned about food safety and we want to make sure that the product [consumers] get off the grocery shelf is very safe for them and their family."

Tuesday the Florida Department of Agriculture hosted a meeting on the issue from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM at the Jackson County Agriculture center in Marianna on Pennsylvania Avenue .

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