In response to a request from beef industry stakeholders, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is revising the live animal specification used for all Angus certified programs (Schedule GLA) to provide more objective phenotypic criteria for identifying eligible cattle. The specification is also being revised to reflect ownership by the American Angus Association, not AMS.
Currently, for phenotypic requirements, cattle must be predominantly (51 percent) black, along with other exclusionary criteria. The proposed changes will require that cattle—evaluated phenotypically—have a main body that is solid black with no color behind the shoulder, above the flanks, or breaking the midline behind the shoulder (excluding the tail). In the attached addendum (pdf), additions are in yellow highlight and deletions are represented as strikethrough text (minor formatting updates are not identified). No changes are proposed for cattle qualifying by genotype.
The existing Schedule GLA has served the industry well, but as cattle genetics change over time, opportunities for updates should be considered that better reflect the current populations and marketplace. Additionally, these recommended changes reflect the policies and procedures outlined in the USDA, AMS Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program’s SP-1 and SP-2 protocol documents: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/auditing/certified-meat-programs, specifically that AMS look to established industry standards and requirements in lieu of creating government specifications.
Questions related to these proposed changes can be directed to Dr. Bucky Gwartney via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (202) 720-1424.
AMS is proposing that these changes take effect July 1, 2017.