What the Quality Audit Data Means to Producers
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Suggested Lead: What does the quality audit data mean to producers? Dr. John Paterson, executive director of Producer Education for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, joins us for more about the checkoff-funded 2011 National Beef Quality Audit, the numbers, and what those numbers mean to the 750,000 producers across the country. He starts by addressing injection sites in dairy-beef.
Paterson: “We’ve made great progress in getting rid of injection site blemishes on the beef side, bruising, horns, things like that. But there are some areas we need to work on and one of the areas we need to work on is on the dairy side – the dairy beef side – in that too many producers are injecting in the rear leg. And that’s causing injection site blemishes. We’ve got to somehow work with those guys in production settings: Guys we’ve got to move those injections closer to the neck where the rest of the beef business is doing that.” (:31 seconds)
Customers are concerned about hormones, antibiotics and growth-promoting technologies. Paterson says consumers want to know more about what beef producers are doing on the farm and that starts with record-keeping.
Paterson: “We don’t write down anything and especially when it comes to the use of antibiotics which is on everybody’s mind … when did you give the antibiotic and did you follow the withdraw on that? Now, the feedlots do a wonderful job on that, but on the cow/calf side, we don’t write enough things down. And we’re here to help you through – Beef Quality Assurance – we’ll give you the forms, the paperwork, something that’s easy for you to keep track of that.” (:21 seconds)
Paterson tells us what one of the biggest data points was that jumped out after reviewing all the research.
Paterson: “This issue of traceability. I’d been told by some old cowboys: if this is important, the market will let it happen. And five years ago, three percent of our cattle had electronic identification; today it’s over 20 percent. So the technology is out there. Why is the technology out there? The market said, ‘we’ll pay you for it if you do this right.’ And so to me, personally, that was the biggest surprise and I was pleased to see that if there’s value in it, our ranchers will respond to it.” (:31 seconds)
Reporting for the beef checkoff, I’m Melissa Slagle. For more about your beef checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.
The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.