Mobile Technology is at Home on the Range

Livestock Brand Inspectors have been performing their jobs in the same way since 1917, when the Bureau of Livestock Identification was established, as a division of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; by the use of hand completed forms sent by postal mail.

Brand Inspectors for CDFA inspect and certify cattle brands and track livestock movement.  A cattle brand is used to mark ownership of livestock, and Brand Inspectors use this identifying feature not only to ensure rightful ownership, but to thwart cattle theft as well.

Tracking rightful ownership and sale of cattle through paper and postal mail leaves plenty of room for cattle theft to sneak by without notice, because Inspectors do not have real time information to prevent a potential theft.  However, CDFA has found a way to put real-time data in the hands of its inspectors: by developing an app!

CDFA has brought mobile technology to “home on the range” by developing the Livestock Identification application (LID) to provide inspectors and the Bureau with a real-time catalog of inspections, certificates of ownership, and cattle movement.

Photo of Tablet and Brand Book

CDFA has brought mobile technology to
“home on the range”
Photo: Jenna Baxter

CDFA maintains a database of registered brands, which can be utilized through two applications: the LID application, or through the California Brand Book app.  The Brand Book is a complete record of all registered brands, including owner information.  Currently, the application tracks all of the 23,000 registered and active brands in the state, as well as retaining information of retired or idle brands.

The LID Application isn’t just an improvement to the Brand Inspector’s workday, it modernizes the way livestock owners conduct their business with the Bureau as well.  With the deployment of the LID Application, can issue a certificate of ownership at the site of sale and immediately transmit the data electronically to the Bureau’s headquarters in Sacramento.  This is a vast improvement of the nearly century old process of mailing the Department hand completed applications with a check.

Some of the sophisticated features of the application allow for recording the geo-coordinates of where inspections are being made, as well as keeping a record of all inspections made in the app, allowing for better statistical data on the movement of cattle.

Inspectors are excited about how the LID Application will streamline their day-to-day operations and give them access to information on cattle movement within the state.  Inspectors are present at all livestock auction sales that take place within the state to verify that any sale is lawful, by verification that seller is the current lawful owner of the stock.  Armed with a live database of brands in hand, Inspectors will be given greater power to stop theft in its tracks.

The development of the LID application will eliminate much of the time intensive aspects of an Inspectors work day.  By enabling the Bureau with mobile technology, the Brand Inspectors will now have more time to focus on enforcement, and the Department’s Livestock Inspectors can respond to a livestock disease outbreak in an emergency situation – saving cattle owners, and ultimately the consumer a lot of money.

Article Credits: Jenna Baxter, Robert Schmidt, David Preciado

About Robert Schmidt, Director Executive Office OITS

Mr. Schmidt is Agency Chief Information Officer and Director of Executive Office/IT Services for the California Department of Food & Agriculture. As a proven leader over a 20 year State IT career, he influences technology-related decisions and change across internal and external stakeholders statewide including 31 state departments, boards, and commissions. In Mr. Schmidt's prior roles at CTA and FTB he developed a reputation as the go to guy’ for execution of large-scale, complex projects and programs. His academic achievements are a true blend of business and technology as well with a Master's of Business Administration from CSU, Sacramento and Bachelor's in Computer Science from CSU, Chico.
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