High-tech earrings for all cows.
The new high-tech earring for every cow at a cow ranch in Jackson, Wyoming, can transfer real-time data through Bluetooth on the location and biometrics of the animals, according to an AP News report.
The ranch is operated by the Lockhart Cattle Company, a sixth-generation, family-owned and family-operated, cow outfit.
The idea comes from Melissa Brandao, the founder, and chief revenue officer of HerdDogg, a tech firm that develops specialized ear tags and tracking software to provide ranchers with information on their herd that, in turn, increases each animal's value when consumers of beef learn about the traceability of each and every cow.
The venture-supported agricultural technology startup was launched in Ashland, Oregon, and recently transferred its headquarters to Laramie, Wyoming. It has attracted a suite of tech firms over the past 10 years because of its low costs and opportunities for alliances with the University of Wyoming.
Hardware and Software Solution
This month, the company partnered with the Lockhart Cattle Company to try its latest Bluetooth platform.
The hardware comprises of tags that remotely monitor ambient temperature, place, and acceleration.
The software, according to a similar report from US News, aggregates data points, tracks every cow throughout its lifespan, and offers user-friendly data through the HerdDogg app, reported by the Jackson Hole News & Guide.
For the startup, looking for a ranch like the Lockharts was crucial as both a proof of concept and a stage for marketing.
The ranch is close to the base of the Teton Range, making for an ideal backdrop for picture-taking and video-filming.
Strategic Lockhart Partnership
Brandao said the Lockhart partnership was quite strategic as the family is overseeing its entire production chain.
"Cattles are born, raised, processed and sold" within Teton County, allowing for all-inclusive tests for Brandao's company and its traceability standards as well as a chance to institute the rules of the game.
There are two main sides to the operation of Brandao's startup, beginning with the link between cattle and ranchers.
At a smaller operation like the Lockhart Cattle ranch, the link is upheld by the cowboy who rides around the pastures, checking neon ear tags on and taking notes about the health of every cow.
Most of this information for ranchers is typically on their head, said Chase Lockhart who has helped operate the family ranch for almost 10 years now.
WFMZ-TV 69 News reported that Bluetooth tags are for large herds to be monitored at a maximum distance of 100 yards.
Most Wyoming ranches have not made the jump to the new tech because the profit margins in the cattle industry is thin.
Meanwhile, Mead Ranch's Kate Mead in Jackson believes the new technology could be common soon enough if the price tag of about $15 was slashed, especially as consumers begin to care more about the manner livestock are treated.
This is where HerdDogg's second model comes in. By tracking each cow throughout its lifespan on the ranch, the information can then be used to transfer a life story to consumers when they purchase the beef.
The main objective is for each steak to have a "scannable QR code" on its packaging which would create a profile of the animal one is about to consume.
Related information about HerdDogg is shown on HerdDogg's YouTube video below:
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