The Sterling Solutions Program provides a system for source verification that instills TRUST throughout the entire beef supply chain from the time a calf is born until the final beef product is presented to the consumer. The trend toward marketing source verified beef is real and it is global. In fact, major trading partners for U.S. produced beef require both source and age verification. The Sterling Program not only allows for tracing age-verified cattle from the cattle pens at the packing plant, back through the feedlot to the ranch where the calf was born, it can also follow that source and age verified animal forward through the packing plant as a carcass and ultimately, as boxed primal and sub-primal cuts and beef trim.

The Sterling Solutions Program is a voluntary value-added marketing service with USDA approval for various value added programs using the Source and Age verified documentation as its basis. While USDA approval is required in order to provide this service, Sterling Solutions is a closely and privately held Limited Liability Company with John Morse and John Nalivka as sole owners.

With regard to COOL, compliance with Sterling Solutions Program protocol also means being compliant with COOL requirements. Is this the primary intent of the Sterling Solutions Program? The answer is no. Again, the intent of the Sterling Solutions Program is to provide cattle raisers with an opportunity for value-added, marketing.

How the Sterling Solutions Program Began

With the goal of creating a system to meet this growing demand for animal identification and source verification, John Morse and John Nalivka began developing the Sterling Solutions Source Verification Program in late 2002. The Sterling program was audited and approved in December 2003.

The Sterling Solutions Program Today

Because of changes in of the age requirements by the GOJ, Sterling Solutions has expanded the services it now offers. Sterling, in addition to the basic Age and Source Identification PVP offered in the beginning, now offers additional marketing orientated programs: Never Ever 3 (NE3), Sterling Natural (no antibiotics, no growth promotants, no animal by-products), non-Beta Agonist feeding, Non-Hormone Treated Cattle, NHTC,and High Quality Beef Feeding with a focus on Switzerland and the European Union. Sterling also offers a Process Verified Livestock Care and Handling program developed along the lines of the Industry Standard Beef Quality Assurance and the American Meat Institute. This program offers producers the chance to develop their own specific program, which they are responsible to implement, using broad generally accepted standards and guidelines included in the Sterling Solutions PVP. The advantage to the producer is that the review and audit process will help them adapt their current practices to accepted program standards. These programs are all designed to meet specific, targeted marketing goals. The Age and Source Program, ASV, is the basis of all of the new offerings.

Two major premises have guided development of the Sterling Solutions Process Verified Programs; First, those who need and receive the direct benefit of the process verified program should pay the associated costs. The principals have always felt that the cost should not be born bottom up by producers. Second, in order for a program to be embraced by the industry it must take into consideration critical point issues up and down the supply chain. Consideration of these critical point issues is necessary if a program is to be incorporated into the operating procedures on the ranch, at the auction market, in the feedlot, in the packing plant, and in the retail meat case and restaurant. A program must be cost effective while creating minimal disruption to operational activities.

There are many ideas with regard to the criterion involved with designing workable process verified marketing programs. It seems as though many of these programs are created from the top down and are not necessarily concerned with keeping things as simple as possible. In fact, in the rush to create a system, the means can easily become the end. We firmly believe the verification process must be driven from both ends of the supply chain and work to accommodate everyone throughout that chain.