Beef Quality Assurance certification is in high demand. Extension offices along with other professional in the beef sector are encouraging all beef producers, feed yards and beef transportation units to become BQA and BQAT certified.
This comes after several large beef processors including Tyson Foods, the largest processor of US beef, set regulations in place to assure customers are getting the high quality beef that they demand. With Tyson putting the most pressure on feed yards and cattle transportation. As of January 1st, 2019 Tyson Foods requires feed yards be BQA certified and to have all Tyson trucking affiliates to be BQAT certified by 2020. This is to ensure all Tyson beef purchases is sourced from BQA certified farms.
The goal of the BQA certification is to minimize defects in quality that could come about at any point of the animal’s life such as bruising, high-stress situations, and injection-site lesions. Producers’ responsibility when enrolled in the program is to keep detailed logs on all activity within their herd including husbandry practices, administration of medication, and transportation details.
The type of farm determines the type of certification a program farmers are enrolled into, with certifications separate for feed yards, cow-calf producers, transportation, dairy and veterinarians looks to become BQA certified.
Cow-calf producer BQA certifications ensure ranchers have the ability to execute proper handling methods to improve gathering, penning, chute work and hauling.
The feed yard BQA certification ensure the operation has intensive record keeping with plans of action including a plan of action for visitors entering the grounds, disposal of dead livestock, and feed rations. This certification also includes on-the-farm assessment programs.
The BQA transportation (BQAT) program ensures the proper handling and transportation of cattle by the transporter is up to BQA standards. The program covers topics including:
- Cattle handling guidelines & diagrams
- Checklists for loading/unloading
- Checklists for hot/cold weather factors
- Checklists for fit/injured/weak cattle
- Checklist for traveling
- Loading suggestions and worksheets
- Bio-security & Emergency Action Plans
The DACQA certification program is for the dairy producers to help bring their operation to BQA standards. This certification is equivalent to the FARM program. This program ensure quality milk and beef is is provided off the dairy farm. This program may also include an on-the-farm evaluation.
To start the process producers are to participate in a training session and a certification session. After the sessions an identification number will be given out. By then, If calves are produced under BQA requirements and detailed logs are kept, the farm may be marked as BQA certified.
All BQA certifications are good for 3 years. Online certifications are available at no cost. There are multiple face-to-face BQA session put on by the NDSU and SDSU extension offices throughout North Dakota and South Dakota.
If you are a producer, hauler, or veterinarian looking to become BQA certified you are encouraged to contact your local extension agent.
For SDSU BQA questions, certification, renewal or status of certification contact Heidi Carroll, South Dakota BQA Coordinator, directly.
NDSU BQA certification dates and times are found here.