A series of online videos, hosted by Kansas State University, can help beef producers and processors keep pace with changes in most every step of the production cycle.

As part of its Beef Quality Assurance Program, K-State´s Beef Cattle Institute has expanded to an additional website, "Animal Care Training" (http://www.animalcaretraining.org). The Beef Quality Assurance program is a training system for beef producers, handlers, and processors. 

Dan Thomson, an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences in K-State´s College of Veterinary Medicine, as well as the director of the Beef Cattle Institute at K-State, said the program´s ideological and financial roots are in K-State´s Targeted Excellence Program.

"Of all the things done at Kansas State University," Thomson said, "What should the university really focus on? What should the university really achieve national, or even international leadership in?

"When it comes right down to it, if we aren´t doing a great job with the beef industry, or serving the beef industry, that´s probably something that would be considered `inadequate´ at Kansas State University."

Fills in gaps

Thomson said the program educates workers in all sectors of the beef industry, from the newly hired to the seasoned veteran. The program also filled in the gaps created by dwindling resources.

"We´re running low on people, time, and opportunities for face-to- face meetings to actually carry out some of this training. So, to augment or supplement some of this face-to-face training, or on-the- job training, we have produced a series of online training modules."

The program is entirely self-paced; participants can log in and watch videos as many times as they like, 24 hours a day. The modules are available in both English and Spanish.

"As we see an increase in cultural diversity in the beef industry, we also made the modules available for people who use Spanish as their first language."

Thomson said the topics covered in the training modules continue to evolve, as participants return to the site, seeking further training.

"We´ve seen an evolution in BQA from `How do we move our injection sites to the neck? ´ to `How do we make sure that we use our animal microbials in a proper manner? ´" Thomson said.

"It´s not only what the product is, and how wholesome the product is," he continued, "but now we have to look at how we actually raise these animals, and that´s something that may be going on the label of our beef products, as well."