I am pretty excited to complete the Beef Quality Assurance (“BQA”) certification program. I registered with Carol Gillis at the New York Beef Industry Council . A $10 registration fee is required to help pay for the Mid-Atlantic Producer Certification Manual. After a cursory overview of the materials this morning, the manual seems chalk full of best management practices concerning feedstuffs, record keeping, animal health products, cattle handling and biosecurity.
In the Mid-Atlantic region, after a written examination participants much complete chute side training. The upcoming chute side trainings are as follows:
September 11, 2010 – Primrose Homestead in Cato, New York
October 8, 2010 – WBB Farm in Alden, New York
October 16, 2010 – Melbinski Farm in Newark, NY
Why Is Getting BQA Certified Important?
I think every beef producer should continue to get training over the years to stay abreast on updated animal handling and production practices. Not only does the improvement in animal handling help project a positive public image but the use of best management practices directly affects a producer’s bottom dollar. The 2000 National Beef Quality Audit indicated that the industry lost approximately $100/ head marketed due to dark cutters, injection – site blemishes, branding, and other quality concerns. Furthermore, as I have written on several occasions, it is imperative that livestock producers start building a case against livestock animal cruelty charges before there is a problem. BQA and the New York State Cattle Health Assurance Program (“NYSCHAP”) are both examples of ways that cattle producers can help build a document history of his/her training and compliance with those suggested practices. Finally, I believe that livestock producers should have an employee handbook that enumerates the best management practices for their specific industry. Programs like BQA or NYSCHAP give excellent suggested procedures and policies that should be included in the employee handbook. Livestock owners should regularly train its employees on proper animal handling techniques.
So stay tuned while I work through the BQA Certification. I will try to post updates here on this blog while I read through the manual, take the written examination, and complete the chute-side test.