BQA Advances to Meet Producer and Consumer Needs
In 1991, the Beef Checkoff funded the first National Beef Quality Audit to help identify beef safety issues and establish benchmarks for success. Thirty years later, the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program has grown beyond expectations, providing beef producers the information and tools they need to incorporate safe and effective management practices. Today, approximately 85 percent of U.S. beef comes from BQA-certified producers.
To continue helping beef producers capture more value from their cattle and instill consumer confidence in the beef industry, the BQA program constantly evolves and updates its programs. Here are the exciting BQA updates from this year.
Beef Industry Long Range Plan Includes BQA to Grow Consumer Trust in Beef
A core strategy in the 2021 – 2025 Beef Industry Long Range Plan (LRP) is growing consumer trust in beef production. According to the LRP, research shows an increased desire among all consumers to know more about where their food comes from and how it is produced. Education and documented verification programs, like the BQA program, will contribute to this strategy by increasing cattle producer participation and adoption of BQA principles while also educating the general public about its impact on animal well-being. As producers become BQA certified, they demonstrate an industry-wide commitment to best management practices, increasing the program’s credibility in consumers’ eyes.
“The more robust we can make BQA, the more validity it will have in the eyes of our consumers and alleviate concerns about animal care,” said Kim Brackett, chair of the LRP task force, chair of the BQA Advisory Group and Idaho cow-calf producer. “And what it all comes down to at the end of the day is consumer trust will increase demand for beef.”
To view the full Beef Industry Long Range Plan, Visit: BeefLongRangePlan.com
BQA’s New Calf Care and Quality Assurance Program
The U.S. calf-raising sector now has a program to help ensure optimal calf health and welfare via the Calf Care & Quality Assurance (CCQA) program. CCQA is the first collaborative educational tool that provides guidelines for calf raisers. The CCQA program is a joint initiative led by BQA and the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program, managed by the National Milk Producer’s Federation (NMPF) with support from the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association, and the Beef Checkoff-funded Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) program. A reference manual sets the foundation for the CCQA program. In addition to the manual, the CCQA program will roll out producer-focused training modules that will certify producers in the principles of excellent calf care highlighted throughout the manual later in 2021.
BQA’s New Biosecurity Education Module
BQA released the first in a series of Advanced Education Modules. The initial module focuses on biosecurity and the basics of disease transmission and prevention. These resources were developed so anyone who is involved in raising cattle has the opportunity to understand how biosecurity principles are integrated into their farm or ranch and plan for continuous improvement in the future. Interactive and real-world best practice examples are provided for a variety of topics, such as new bull or replacement purchases and manure management to reduce feed contamination, among others.
For more information about BQA, CCQA and the advanced education modules, visit: BQA.org
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 may 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.