New Mexico State University announced recently that its long-running beef quality assurance certification program, offering the training for beef and dairy producers, is 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 go to an Extension office for their tests.

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.

For more information about the program, contact your local Extension office or Mathis at (505) 646-8022 or cpmathis@nmsu.edu.