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Dimensions of Access to Traceability Information for US Beef Cattle Producers

Author: 
Boehm, Reid I.
Major Professor: 
Suzie Allard
Committee Members: 
Dr. Suzie Allard
Date: 
August 2015

Abstract: 

US consumers eat a lot of beef. The nation’s beef cattle production industry is a multi-faceted, complex supply chain which makes it an area rich for discussion about information practices, yet vulnerable to problems such as disease and terrorist attack. This research looks at cattle identification and traceability information resources that are accessible to beef cattle producers through two web channels: the state cooperative Extension website and the state Department of Agriculture website. This is a state by state content analysis of all fifty states to look at the topics, types, formats, quality, and interactivity of the available resources. By merging two information frameworks, one with theoretical attention to components of access to information and one with applied attention to government information valuation measures, the research demonstrates an analysis process that connects state cattle producer demographics for comparison with aspects of the available cattle identification and traceability information from that state. This includes visualizing the nation as a whole and comparing state-based similarities and differences, illuminating areas of strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in contextually congruent information for the producer and stakeholder populations.