Providing verification and traceability solutions to the marketplace for 25 years!
John and Leann Saunders, founders of IMI Global, have been instrumental in changing the way the industry authenticates livestock raising claims to meet the demands of consumers world-wide. In 1996, Leann worked for PM Beef Group, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, while John launched Integrated Management Information (now known as IMI Global), without any capital. John worked tirelessly building custom cattle information sharing databases for groups such as the Farmland Beef Alliance, which was comprised of National Beef, Agri-Beef, Supreme Feeders and Angus breeders. While John was building these systems and working with the initial infrastructure around animal identification and traceability in the beef industry, Leann was working with the USDA developing the first-ever USDA Process Verified Standard. With Leann leading the charge, PM Beef Group was the first beef company to verify production practices and claims from the cow/calf producer all the way through the supply chain to retail outlets.
In December of 2003, BSE shut down the US beef export markets and, after much convincing from John, Leann made the decision to join John at IMI Global so they could provide animal identification, traceability and verification solutions to the industry. John’s first product was called Chuteside, a system allowing feedyards to tie individual animal data to an individual animal identifier. While he was promoting this product in the market, Leann was working with major packers to create the first USDA QSA Programs for Japan and meet export verification instruction requirements. It became evident quickly that the industry needed a way to ensure buyers through the beef supply chain that cattle met the source and age specified product requirements for Japan on live cattle. John, Leann and the IMI Global team created an infrastructure to audit and verify these attributes for cow/calf producers, stocker operations and feedlots. Developed as an “umbrella” program under the USDA Process Verified Program Standard, their third-party system allowed packers to buy “verified” cattle without the responsibility of auditing/verifying the locations themselves. This revolutionized the way cattle are marketed for verified and value-added programs.
In the beef industry today, IMI Global verifies cattle for a number of programs, standards and claims including, but certainly not limited to, source, traceability, age, Non-Hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC), Verified Natural Beef, WFCF CARE and more. They also provide an infrastructure that authenticates the claims being made on packages at retail.
In 2006, IMI Global became a division of Where Food Comes From, Inc. (WFCF), which is a name John and Leann chose to better describe what they were doing and where they believed the future of their business was headed.
WFCF now has a total of 6 divisions - IMI Global, Sterling Solutions, WFCF Organic, Validus Verification Services, SureHarvest and Postelsia.
Founders, John and Leann Saunders, discuss the importance of farmers, ranchers and the future of WFCF.
Ep. 1: Who is WFCF
Ep. 2: WFCF Defines Sustainability
Ep. 3: WFCF: a New Era, a New Focus
Ep. 4: WFCF Strives to Connect Consumers to Farmers and Ranchers
At Welch Cattle Co., our goal has always been to balance operational efficiency with quality and progress. While value-added programs have existed for years, we never took the plunge until WFCF and IMI Global developed the BeefCARE program. We feel comfortable working within a program built by folks who know our industry and have strong and significant ties to all stakeholders in the food supply chain. We are excited to tell our customers that we care about our community, our animals, and our land, but any decision we made had to make sense to our bottom line. We realized that in a profound way when we sold our first crop of calves under the BeefCARE label through Superior Livestock Auctions. In the midst of a pandemic, the price we received for our calves exceeded our expectations. We can’t express how rewarding it is to be compensated for the extra care and attention to detail we have always poured into our operation.
Welch Cattle Co.
Let’s Start Working Together!