While many producers are completing their Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification to sell fed cattle in 2019, cattle haulers should also take note. Haulers of fed cattle will also need certification in the BQA Transportation program by Jan. 1, 2020.
As of Oct. 31, 2018, more than 1,670 certifications have been completed with more than 2,400 enrollments in process.
Despite what some producers think about the BQA program (see comments, posted on our Facebook page), beef packers say consumers want proof that farmers treat animals well and animals are healthy.
“Consumers and customers want to know more about the beef they buy and additional assurance cattle producers are doing what’s right for the animals they raise,” says Gary Mickelson, Tyson spokesperson. The company says they will require BQA Transportation certification of all transporters delivering cattle to their facilities by Jan. 1, 2020.
Cargill says it’s on schedule to meet its commitment for 90% of its suppliers being compliant by the end of 2018. Cargill is on schedule to meet its commitment for 90% of its suppliers being compliant by the end of 2018. “We support both BQA and the BQA Transportation because we believe it is the right thing to do for caring for, and handling, cattle,” says Lacey Alexander, Cargill’s animal welfare lead for beef.
It’s a credit to the beef industry’s foresight and commitment to producer education that companies like Cargill and Tyson embraced the BQA program as a way to validate beef’s quality story, adds Chase DeCoite, director of the BQA program.
What’s Covered in BQA Transportation?
Producers can raise an exceptional beef calf, but unless the animal arrives at the feedlot or harvest facility in good health with minimal stress, the beef quality doesn’t come through to the finished product.
- Cattle haulers hold incredible responsibility in the care of each animal. Certification through BQA offers several topics:
- 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
Click here to learn more and start the online education course. See in-person BQA trainings at www.bqa.org/events.