Certified Semen Services, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB). It was formed following a decision made by NAAB delegates in 1975 (29th Annual Meeting, Dallas, TX) to establish a program of industry self-regulation.


The organizational meeting of CSS was held in 1976 followed by the hiring of the first Service Director. The CSS audit or inspection program for semen identification was initiated in January 1977. Two years later this program was expanded to include the area of sire health. During the past several years health requirements and procedural standards for health and identification have been modified as conditions in the AI industry and emerging technologies have warranted. However, any changes made in the program are implemented only after thorough review and evaluation.


The CSS structure allows for additional services to be added to meet the needs of the AI industry. In 1992 a new program to evaluate AI center management practices was implemented. Also in 1995 participation in the CSS program was extended to AI businesses located outside of the United States.

The success of the CSS program has enabled the national animal breeding industry to regulate itself without direct government involvement. Underlying this success is an active effort by each participating organization to operate under principles of integrity and professional competence.


CSS Structure


CSS is registered in Missouri and is organized as a profit corporation. The Bylaws state that the business and purpose of CSS are:


To provide an inspection service to inspect businesses engaged in the processing of livestock semen; to establish standards and rules to assure the authenticity of semen products; to disseminate information concerning the handling and processing of semen; to establish standard procedures for the protection of the user; to establish uniform labeling of semen containers; to facilitate the identification of semen products; and to engage in any other activity for improvement of animal agriculture.


To establish rules and procedures for certification of businesses processing livestock semen.


CSS is managed by a six member Board of Directors that are elected to one year terms by the NAAB shareholders. The chief administrative officer is the President of CSS and the Service Director conducts the audit program. The NAAB Committees, particularly Sire Health and Management have served as important resources and are a sounding board for CSS issues.


CSS is organized so that any AI business engaged in the collection and processing of livestock semen is eligible to participate in and benefit from its services program upon entering an agreement for services. All regular NAAB members though are required to enter into an agreement with CSS as a provision of NAAB membership (successful completion of a CSS audit for semen identification and sire health testing is required before regular member approval by the NAAB Board of Directors). NAAB membership is not required for CSS participation.


Currently there are 33 AI businesses participating in CSS. This represents 33 principal locations and 17 secondary locations or 50 total audit locations. Audit locations are found in 22 states across the USA, and in Victoria, Australia. In 2011, ten of the 33 businesses are "CSS only" participants (non-NAAB members).


Distributors who purchase semen for resale directly from CSS approved processing organizations (i.e., that are allowed by agreement with CSS to display the CSS logo in advertising) and only sell CSS processed semen are eligible to participate as a "CSS Exclusive Distributor".


The CSS Service Director annually makes at least one unannounced audit visit to the offices and semen production facilities of each participating AI business. During the audit visit, procedures and records related to semen identification and sire health are objectively reviewed to determine compliance.


A complete report of this review or audit is provided to the president and manager of the AI business audited. The report outlines the identification and sire health procedures followed, and as needed recommends pertinent changes to correct any area not in compliance with the agreement provisions. The audit report is confidential between CSS and the participating organization.


CSS Audit


The central documents that guide the CSS audit are a) the "CSS Agreement for Semen Identification, Semen Quality Control and Sire Health Auditing Service" and b) the "CSS Minimum Requirements for Disease Control of Semen Produced for AI". The "CSS Agreement" outlines the terms and conditions that are agreed to between the participating organization and CSS and outlines specific requirements to be complied with regarding identification and sire health. The "CSS Agreement" runs on a calendar year basis and is automatically renewed January 1 of each year if the provisions have been complied with and a "Statement of Compliance" for the past year has been filed with CSS. The "CSS Agreement" was revised for 2005 and 2011. The 2005 revision placed greater emphasis on certifying the AI business or specific areas within an AI business as "CSS Certified" based on specific Facility Requirements/Agreement Provisions. The CSS Semen Quality Control audit program was added in 2011. Its purpose is to help insure that each breeding unit of semen contains sperm of adequate quality and quantity to achieve normal fertility in producerís herds and to provide more consistency among member AI businesses in their semen quality control procedures.




Identification from point of purchase or custom collection of the sire, throughout processing, distribution to the original point of sale of the processed semen is reviewed during the audit. This involves the Service Director checking on records in several places at the AI business, observing identification procedures and asking employees pertinent questions. Normally the sequence of this evaluation follows the work flow of the production department, beginning in the collection area, then proceeding to the processing laboratory, followed by distribution area. This is followed by the bull housing and isolation facilities and then other departmental offices where pertinent records are evaluated (such as genetics, field services and/or accounting).


Semen Quality Control-


Each organizationís semen quality control program documents and procedures are reviewed and observed during the CSS audit and by ad hoc communications.This includes: sperm enumeration procedures and equipment calibration; semen extension rate information and parameters used to determine maximum/minimum sperm per breeding unit; pre-freeze and post-thaw evaluation information;semen discard data; visual post-thaw microscopic evaluation information; written procedures and internal standards; policy for semen quality exceptions ; physical identifier used for below minimum quality.



Sire Health-


The "CSS Minimum Requirements for Disease Control of Semen Produced for AI" outline specific testing procedures for bulls and mount animals before entering isolation, during isolation and for bulls housed in a central location after completing isolation (resident herd). General sanitary conditions and requirements for the addition of appropriate antibiotics to semen and extender to control specific microorganisms are included. The CSS Minimum Requirements represent a comprehensive standard for those diseases proven to be a significant threat to be seminally transmitted by AI. The goal of the CSS Minimum Requirements is to protect the health of the herd in which semen is used.


CSS requirements are minimums that should be followed for domestic use. These requirements have actually become a de-facto national program in the view of regulators. Several participants typically exceed these requirements in their sire health programs. During the audit, various records pertaining to sire health and procedures are checked to determine compliance with the CSS Minimum Requirements. Procedures are observed and checked in animal housing areas, collection area and laboratory. Health test records are checked for completion of the appropriate CSS tests in the veterinary department.


CSS Logo Usage


The CSS sire health program is designed to make a distinction between semen from bulls meeting the CSS Minimum Requirements from those that do not. Consequently, semen from bulls which are maintained under conditions complying with or exceeding the CSS Minimum Requirements may be designated as CSS "Health Certified Semen".

Text Box:  The registered CSS logo may be imprinted only on semen packages containing "Health Certified Semen". The logo may also be displayed in advertising according to provisions in the CSS Agreement.

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AI Center Management Practices Evaluation Program


This voluntary program was implemented in January 1992 and is offered to any CSS participating organization wanting to have AI center management practices evaluated. It involves checking compliance with the "CSS Guidelines For AI Center Management Practices" and covers areas of General Welfare, Transportation, Disease Surveillance, Hygiene and Handling, Environment and Facilities, Feeding and Watering, Veterinary and Professional Care and Seminal Collection. It provides a uniform framework for monitoring AI industry management practices and provides documentary evidence that the participating organization and industry is concerned with animal welfare.


This program stems from action taken by the NAAB Board in 1988 to develop industry guidelines for humane husbandry and housing practices for bulls in an AI center environment and to consider their incorporation into the CSS audit. These guidelines were developed by an ad hoc committee.


International Participation


In 1995 the CSS Board of Directors approved an international CSS participation category to provide a CSS Semen Identification and Sire Health Auditing Service to AI businesses that are located outside of the United States. This action was aimed at accommodating ongoing changes in participants' organizational structures and continuing AI industry globalization.


Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with USDA


In 2009 the MOU with USDA-APHIS/Veterinary Services was renewed for another 5-year period. The MOU outlines procedures that will provide a credible means of evaluating the supervision provided to CSS participating semen collection centers by USDA accredited veterinarians and the management of the centers. The MOU is necessary to achieve compliance with importing countries' requirements that USDA approve semen collection centers and that health certified semen be used to produce embryos for export. Under the MOU, NAAB through its subsidiary CSS, agrees to: 1) manage the CSS program as stated in its Bylaws and Agreement; 2) provide USDA an updated list of compliant members on a routine basis; 3) conduct audits with a designated USDA-APHIS veterinarian for at least one of those audits annually; and 4) provide access to audit records of CSS compliant centers maintained at Columbia, Missouri.


Based on CSS audits and USDA inspections, a listing of bovine AI centers approved for export is maintained.


Revised January 2011 †††††††††††