For 25 years, the checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program has provided the beef industry with valuable animal care tools based on sound animal husbandry practices, decades of practical experience and scientific research. Implementation of the national BQA guidelines and tools throughout the production chain helps provide consumers with safe, wholesome, quality beef. Veterinarians play a key role as beef and dairy producers’ partners in executing BQA management practices on the farm, ranch, dairy and feedlot.

In the BQA education module, Role of Veterinarians in the BQA program, John Maas, DVM, University of California-Davis, and Dee Griffin, DVM, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, talk about the importance of BQA both at the production level and for consumers.

“As a veterinarian working with cow-calf clients, it’s important to have a written herd health plan that makes sense for the producer and includes BQA practices,” says Maas. “In an annual review of the plan, we can make adjustments and changes in our animal care program.”

“Today, a majority of consumers don’t have a direct link to the farm. BQA is our tool to build consumer trust and confidence that our industry takes seriously its responsibility of caring for our animals,” says Griffin. “Through BQA, we communicate in one voice that every day we work to do things right on our operations.”

BQA and doing things right ― that’s why the checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) is so important. Conducted every five years since 1991, the audit assesses industry progress on production issues that affect consumer demand for beef. In 1991, for instance, purveyors, restaurateurs and retailers identified injection-site lesions as their second-highest concern about beef. Thanks in part to the checkoff’s BQA efforts, this is no longer a major issue for them. Watch for news about the 2011 study results, which will be distributed at the cattle industry’s summer conference this July in Denver.

Veterinarian relationship key to success

To learn more about Beef Quality Assurance training materials and videos, visit the resource section at BQA.org.