Beef and dairy producers who want to receive beef quality assurance certification can attend one of three October workshops in Clayton, Socorro or Roswell, N.M.
The voluntary two- to three-hour classes from New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service are designed to help cattle producers improve consumer confidence and boost profits, in addition to teaching them how to minimize defects in beef.
“The goal of the program is to ensure that cattle produced in New Mexico are maintained in a proper manner that will result in a nutritious and safe beef product for the consuming public,” said Ron Parker, head of the Extension animal resources department at NMSU.
Workshops will be held Oct. 2 at 3 p.m. at the HiHo Cafe in Clayton, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. at the Socorro County Fair Grounds in Socorro, and Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. at the Chaves County Extension office in Roswell. Participants are encouraged to call their county Extension offices to preregister.
Class sessions will combine science, research and education to teach production methods that focus on quality from the ranch to the dinner table, said Clay Mathis, an NMSU Extension livestock specialist. Among the topics are recommended needle sizes and types for vaccination, how beef quality is measured, treatment of sick animals and monitoring drug withdrawal times. Other sessions focus on drug storage and record keeping.
Parker said the training has two levels. Those who attend the sessions and pass a brief written test are certified as Beef Quality Assurance Trained Producers. Cattle growers who want to use the program as a marketing tool for their livestock need to complete two additional requirements, he said.
They must sign a critical management plan affidavit of compliance and obtain a signed document indicating they have a valid veterinarian/client/patient relationship. Producers completing this phase of the program will be designated as Beef Quality Assurance Certified Producers.
“Consumers are concerned about the quality and wholesomeness of the food that they eat,” Parker said. “Beef growers must accept responsibility for producing meat that is free of blemishes and residues, and assure buyers that the products they buy are safe and wholesome.”
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.