LAS CRUCES – New Mexico State University recently announced changes in its long running beef quality assurance certification program, offering the training for beef and dairy producers online for the first time.
“This definitely increases accessibility to the program,” said Clay Mathis, an NMSU Extension livestock specialist. “By putting this program online, our hope is to get many more people educated on the importance of becoming beef quality assurance trained or certified producers.”
In the past the growers had to attend the voluntary two- to three-hour classes in person, then take a test, he said. Now, producers can log on from home or at an Extension office at http://cahe.nmsu.edu/bqa or use newly developed CDs as study aids, and then come to an Extension office for their test.
Both the live and online training sessions combine science, research and education to teach production methods that focus on beef quality from the ranch to the dinner table, Mathis said. Among the topics are recommended needle sizes and types for vaccination, beef’s quality measurements, treatment of sick animals and monitoring drug withdrawal times. Other sessions focus on drug storage and record keeping.
The beef quality assurance certification program was developed to ensure that cattle in New Mexico are maintained properly to produce nutritious, safe beef, said Ron Parker, head of NMSU’s Extension animal resources department.
Beef quality assurance training has two levels. Those who attend the sessions and pass a brief written test are designated as Beef Quality Assurance trained producers.
Cattle producers who want to use the program as a marketing tool for their livestock can complete two additional requirements to become Beef Quality Assurance certified producers. They must sign a critical management plan affidavit of compliance, and obtain a signed document indicating they consult with a veterinarian.
Producers who were originally certified can become re-certified through the same process. Re-certification will be valid for three years.
The New Mexico Beef Quality Assurance Program is sponsored by the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, Dairy Producers of New Mexico, New Mexico Livestock Board, New Mexico Beef Council and related organizations and industries. NMSU’s Extension Service provides the leadership and instructors, while the state livestock board certifies attendees.
For more information about the program, contact your local Extension office or Mathis at (505) 646-8022 or firstname.lastname@example.org.