A leading pharmaceutical firm and a Midwestern university are sponsoring training for cattle producers to obtain certification under the checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance program.
The national program seeks to raise consumer confidence about the industry by offering best-practices guidelines for cow-calf, stocker, feedlot and dairy operations in managing their herds. Producers can receive the training in person or online.
For the second year, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., and the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University are offering to pay for producers’ certification or recertification training, which normally costs from $25 to $50, according to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board. The offer runs through April 15.
“I think (BQA) is gaining popularity across the country because producers are recognizing that consumers are demanding a quality product and they want to know about production practices,” said Melissa Sandfort, the beef board’s trade media manager.
“I think producers are stepping up to the plate because they know that consumers are watching what they’re doing,” she said. “They’re taking these steps to safeguard products for consumers.”
Last year, more than 3,500 producers took advantage of BIVI’s promotion, and the sponsors have had “an overwhelming response already” since this year’s push began in February, Sandfort said. The sponsors will further publicize the offer in the final week with radio ads and e-newsletters, she said.
Developed and managed by the Beef Cattle Institute, the BQA online programs include easy-to-use modules that teach sound management techniques that can be applied to cattle operations, according to a beef board news release.
The program was started in the 1980s as a way to make sure antibiotic residues weren’t getting into cattle. It evolved over the years from proper administration of drugs to animal welfare and handling, explained Dan Thomson, a KSU professor of beef cattle production medicine.
“I think that when we look at Beef Quality Assurance, the term ‘assurance’ is there for the consumer,” Thomson said in a National Cattlemen’s Beef Association podcast. “When we think about doing our job appropriately to improve the health of the animals we raise to make a wholesome, nutritious product that’s safe, Beef Quality Assurance is at the core.”
Beef Quality Assurance training offer: www.bivi-bqa.com