NAHMS Beef 2017 Study

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Next month the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) will launch Beef 2017, its fourth national study of U.S. beef cow-calf operations. Beef 2017 will take an in-depth look at U.S. beef cow-calf operations and provide the industry with new and valuable information regarding animal health and management trends in the U.S. beef industry from 1993 to 2017.  Three study objectives were identified for the Beef 2017 study.

  1. Describe trends in beef cow–calf health and management practices, specifically:
  • Cow health and longevity,
  • Calf health,
  • Reproductive efficiency,
  • Selection methods for herd improvement including tests of genetic merit, and
  • Biosecurity
  1. Describe management practices and producer beliefs related to:
  • Animal welfare,
  • Emergency preparedness,
  • Environmental stewardship, and
  • Record keeping and animal identification practices.
  1. Describe antimicrobial use practices (stewardship) and determine the prevalence and antimicrobial resistance patterns of potential food-safety pathogens:
  • Types and reasons for use of antimicrobial drugs by animal type
  • Stewardship
     Use of alternatives for disease control
     Use of Beef Quality Assurance principles
     Veterinarian-client-patient relationship
     Information sources
  • Enteric organism antimicrobial resistance assessments (e.g., Salmonella, E. coli, Enterococcus)

What participation involves

From October through December 2017, representatives from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact randomly selected beef cow-calf operators in 24 States (including Ohio) for phase 1 of the study. NASS representatives will conduct personal interviews with all participating operations that have one or more beef cows. For operations that choose to continue to phase II of the study and are eligible to do so, representatives from USDA’s Veterinary Services will visit from January through March 2018 to administer the phase II questionnaire. Representatives will also offer a range of biologic sampling activities in which producers can choose to participate.

Participating beef cow-calf operators will receive:

  • Summary reports from the study that will provide national and regional benchmarks for their operation,
  • Information sheets derived from study data that discuss the findings and their implications, and
  • Results from biologic sampling activities.


Because NAHMS studies rely on voluntary participation, the privacy of every participant is protected. Only those collecting the data know the identity of the respondent. No name or contact information will be associated with individual data, and no data will be reported in a way that could reveal the identity of a participant. Data are presented only in an aggregate manner.