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Hubert LauThe Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS) is an answer to the needs and demands of consumers and their trusted retailers.

With the launch of a new generation of BIXS, which is a web-based data management system that operates a value-added traceability system, transparency, traceability and verification in beef production is a reality.

Recognizing that ease of data sharing and data entry are more important to cattle producers than ever before, producers were asked what they needed BIXS to do. With those suggestions and a group of keen cattle producers, our beta testers test drove the new system for close to a year. It’s better than ever, intuitive and efficient, and free for producers to use.

It’s been dubbed the “cloud for cows.”

BIXS will support the integrity of the beef supply chain, providing transparency for all participants while protecting privacy, moving the industry from the disconnected supply chain of yesterday to true value chains of tomorrow. Using blockchain technology, BIXS will increase efficiencies, building robust integrated blockchain solutions that will work alongside the web-based traceability system, which tracks cattle via RFID (radio frequency identification tags) through their lifetime.

The Canadian Beef Advantage is the future of the cattle industry, featuring traceability, transparency and sustainability. This supports a socially-responsible, environmentally-sound and economically-viable beef production system that prioritizes the planet, people, animals and progress.

The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef makes Canada the first country in the world to launch a producer framework for sustainable beef production, to certify cattle operations and track chain of custody. Our country is considered one of the world leaders in sustainable beef production.

With enhanced Canadian traceability regulations in place, the integration that BIXS has with Canadian Livestock Traceability System (CLTS) will become more important, making it easier for producers to comply. CLTS is operated by Canadian Cattle Identification Agency, which is tasked by Canadian Food Inspection Agency to track animals in respect to food safety, animal and human health.

The BIXS team believes that a producer should only have to enter data one time, and be able to have that data flow to whatever system needs or requires it. The data flow only can happen with the permission of producers, by registering on BIXS, to protect privacy and established business models. The new generation of BIXS allows customization to suit multiple situations, including the utilization of blockchain technology, which is poised to revolutionize the agri-food industry.

To facilitate certification of cattle operations and electronically track the cattle from those operations, through the production chain, Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) and BIXS have completed an integration that tracks cattle automatically. Once an animal is born on a VBP+ audited operation and moved or sold, the VBP+ designation is attached to the animal’s history in BIXS, provided the producer has registered with BIXS. If it moves into a VBP+ grass operation, backgrounding lot or feedlot, the recognition of that production history carries with the animal via the RFID tag, again that operation must be registered on BIXS.

When the animal reaches the harvest facility, it’s recognized as meeting all the requirements to be considered sustainably raised, which explains why chain of custody is so important. This allows the meat from these animals to be certified as sustainable beef, either on a mass balance approach or even extended to full or partial identity preservation.

For processors and retailers, it’s important that a neutral third-party, like BIXS, can track the movement of the animal through certified sustainable operations.

The desire for sustainably raised animals is becoming more prevalent among consumers. Sustainable is not just a feel-good word. Sustainably-raised beef in Canada is defined by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (www.crsb.ca), which is aligned with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (www.GRSBeef.org), but customized specifically for Canada following ISEAL guidelines. ISEAL represents the global movement of sustainability standards, establishing a code of ethics and credibility principles.

Consumers want to know more about what they’re eating. That the meat they’re feeding their families came from animals that were treated in an ethical, humane manner, raised in an efficient, environmentally friendly way.

It may seem like a tall order, but Canadian farmers and ranchers are already there, for the most part. All that’s needed is an audit certifying that the operation is sustainable, and the ability to attach and track that information to the animal through its lifetime.

BIXS plans to support and advance a socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable beef production system, part of the Canadian Beef Advantage. Canadian producers have the tools to make our beef the most desirable in the world. High quality, sustainably raised with traceability and transparency. These are the things that will ensure Canadian beef is one of the proteins that consumers choose at meat counters all over the world.

BIXSco Inc. is a member of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and invites everyone to visit www.crsb.ca to understand more about sustainable beef projection. BIXS and VBP+ were chosen to support the Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration pilot project, www.cbsapilot.ca, in which major retailers reward producers for contributing to a fully certified sustainable beef program. The major retailers contributing and supporting this program are Swiss Chalet, Original Joe’s, McDonald’s and Loblaw.

Hubert Lau is the President & CEO of BIXSco a partnership between the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and Alberta’s ViewTrak Technologies Inc. and Chief Technology Strategist for Troy Media Digital Solutions.

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