The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is announcing the release of a comprehensive industry feedyard audit tool. The Cattle Industry Feedyard Audit will serve as a standardized audit tool based on the sound science and common sense established in the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. Though the audit tool is owned by NCBA, auditing of feedyards will only be conducted through business-to-business activity within the cattle industry. NCBA will be maintaining the tool with updates as science dictates. To ensure consistency and integrity in auditing the Cattle Industry Feedyard Audit tool has been certified through the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO). PAACO provides training and screens all potential auditors for qualifications including education and industry knowledge. NCBA will assist with the PAACO training process to ensure all auditors are adequately trained. NCBA will not be conducting any audits. More information about PAACO can be found on their website animalauditor.org.
The Cattle Industry Feedyard Audit was built based on BQA principles and includes key standards of animal care that are directly related to animal health and welfare that contribute to a safe beef supply. There are two major components of this complete audit tool: review of documents and feedyard observations. Auditors will review documented protocols, records, and potentially conduct employee interviews to verify protocols are being followed. Auditors will also conduct observations of pens, handling facilities, and animal observations both in pens and during processing.
Results from the audit can provide information back to the feedyard to drive improvement and measure the effectiveness of the operation’s implementation of BQA standards. Upon completion, it will also certify that participating feedlots adhere to industry best practices and provide an increased level of transparency for beef customers and consumers.
The audit tool is a product of a multiyear process that began in 2017 with NCBA’s Cattle Health and Well-being (CHWB) committee appointing a taskforce to investigate the feasibility of developing such an audit. Finding the need for a uniform industrywide audit tool, the CHWB committee assigned a task force of beef industry stakeholders to develop a workable and credible industry feedyard audit tool that would level the playing field and serve as a foundation for the industry’s feedyard operators. This group of diverse industry stakeholders, including feedyard owners and managers, veterinarians, animal scientists, packers, extension agents, BQA educators and trade association representatives, worked to develop the end product released today.
“I want to thank the many volunteer leaders who worked for several years with NCBA staff to develop this valuable tool for the industry,” said Dr. Dale Grotelueschen, co-chair of the working group. “This is an important step for continuing the momentum of added transparency in the supply chain.” For more information and to view the audit tool, visit ncba.org/feedyardaudit.aspx.