An Australian entrepreneur, now based in Durango, wants to change the way cattle herds are managed with health-tracking technology.
David Poussard’s company CattleFit was one of five local companies to pitch investors Thursday at Fort Lewis College as a session of the Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs concludes. The SCAPE is an intensive six-month program that provides $30,000 in seed funding and mentorship in the areas of product development, marketing and finance.
In three years, the program has launched 15 companies that have created 40 new jobs, SCAPE Director Elizabeth Marsh said in an email.
Among the most recent SCAPE companies, CattleFit plans to manufacture wireless ear tags that would track the biometrics of every member of a herd and provide software needed to track the data on mobile devices, Poussard said.
The data will allow ranchers and feedlot operators to identify symptoms of a disease earlier than they can through human observation, he said.
“This allows for the early treatment of these cattle, which reduces the risk of fatality, protects the financial investment of the rancher or feedlot operator, increases efficiency and profitability, and better manages the well-being of the animal,” he said in an email.
It could also reduce the amount of antibiotics producers use because herd managers could treat animals individually rather than pre-emptively treating entire herds, he said.
CattleFit is working on prototypes of the ear tags now, and Poussard expects to test them this month, he said.
The company will do extensive testing to provide farmers and ranchers will baseline health data and provide producers the capability to benchmark their herds against other herds.
Poussard grew up on a sheep farm, but his business background is as a founder of a snow sports training company, rather than agriculture.
He was inspired to start the company after seeing fitness trackers for humans and pets.
“I was thinking: “Why hadn’t anyone done this for livestock,” he said in an interview.
While he sees opportunity for the technology outside the cattle industry, it was the market he saw with the greatest need and the one where it would make the most economic sense.
Check back at durangoherald.com for stories this week on other SCAPE entrepreneurs.