Beef Quality Assurance Program Raises Awareness

By participating in this program, cattle producers show they are willing to stand behind their product.

Land O' Lakes, Fort Dodge Animal Health and the Beef Checkoff helped sponsor a Beef Quality Assurance Program August 28 at the Five Star Co-op outside of Hanlontown in northern Iowa. More than 55 cattle producers attended the program. Beef producers from Worth, Cerro Gordo, Wright, Chickasaw, Floyd, Winnebago and Franklin counties participated in the program.

"Beef quality assurance starts on the farm. By participating in this program, producers show they are willing to stand behind their product," says Brian Waddingham, BQA coordinator and director of industry relations for the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

Iowa's BQA certification program, which began in 1999, is fully funded with beef checkoff dollars. The BQA program has certified nearly 4,700 producers to date. The BQA program has helped to inform beef producers about the latest management practices such as proper injection site techniques and record keeping practices and has also helped to make consumers more aware of the extra efforts taken by Iowa producers to deliver safe, wholesome beef.

Tool for producers to use

"In today's food market, consumer confidence is built on food safety, food quality and brand recognition" states Terry Wicks, beef production specialist with Land O' Lakes Feed, and main organizer of the evening program. "Beef Quality Assurance Certification is the tool for producers to show consumers that the beef industry is providing them with a safe, wholesome and nutritious product."

For nearly 20 years, the beef industry's BQA program has encouraged producers to adopt practices that lead to higher quality carcasses and greater consumer confidence in beef. American and international consumers expect safe, quality beef. Iowa beef producers work to provide this expectation through the BQA program, says Waddingham.

Maintaining consumer demand for beef requires a commitment to quality beef production, not only at the feedlot or packing plant, but also within every segment of the cattle industry. "Concern over food safety is an important consumer issue. It is of utmost importance that the consumer knows beef is a safe and wholesome product," says Waddingham. "Consumers in Iowa should be proud of their beef producers and feel confident that the beef they are consuming is safe, wholesome and nutritious."

Producer-directed and consumer-focused, the Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1-per-head beef checkoff. Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand. For more information visit www.iabeef.org.

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