Cattle producers are reminded they need to complete a Beef Quality Assurance certification program prior to the start of the new calendar year. Beth Doran, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Beef Program Specialist says having beef producers complete a certification is a way for the beef industry to give assurances to the consumer.
“Consumers are telling us, and they’ve been telling us for quite a long time, they want to know how their food is raised and produced. And so we know it is important for us to be able to put out a high quality, safe, nutritous, product. That’s the goal behind the Beef Quality Assurance program is that if we need to do maybe in terms of a specific packer requirements, but more importantly, we need to do it as a good faith adventure to put forward how we are raising and producing that product,” says Doran.
Doran says many packers are requiring beef producers to complete the beef quality program, or they will refuse to purchase cattle from those producers.
The Iowa State University Beef Specialist says it is important that cattle producers attend the seminar and become certified, in order to maintain market access. She explains what producers need to do to become certified in the Beef Quality Assurance program.
“Well the Beef Quality Assurance certification process involves about an hour and a half of training. It goes through eight best management practices. Those practices deal with things like such as responsible use of anti-biotics, which we hear a lot about right now. It goes through other things as well…transportation. It goes through how do you handle those animals that are non-ambulatory, that can’t get around, or how do you handle those animals that may need to be euthanized? That is to the point where that’s the most humane effort that they can do. There’s other parts to that program that deal with putting out the quality product that talk about how can you minimize bruises? How can we make sure the transportation is done well, and is safe for both the animal as well as for the truckers that are out there on the road,” says Doran.
Cattle producers are asked to register prior to November 14th. Doran says eight different sessions have been scheduled for northwest Iowa, beginning on November 19th at Sioux Center. For a complete list of sessions, check with your local county Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office.