Beef Quality Assurance Program a Proactive Way for Industry Producers to Stay Ahead of CurveMon, 12 Feb 2018 11:13:59 CST
Texas AgriLife Extension Specialist Ron Gill was recently honored at the Beef Quality Assurance Awards as the 2018 Educator of the Year. Gill travels across the Plains offering cattle handling seminars and BQA training to producers throughout cattle country who wish to become better stockmen. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Gill after he accepted his award to talk about his life’s pursuit to improve animal welfare on the ranch.
“We were doing BQA training before we actually had a BQA program for cow/calf and stocker guys, but the one at the feedlot level was developed in Texas and Nebraska back in the ‘80s. So, it’s been around for a long time,” Gill said. “It’s a great honor to get that recognition. It’s been a life career doing quality assurance trainings and I appreciate it.”
The formal BQA training program all came about, Gill says, due to injection-site lesions on cattle that started drawing the negative attention of consumers. That prompted the animal welfare community to develop the BQA Guidelines for producers. The whole process is designed to raise healthy, unblemished cattle that yield a high-quality product. He says it not only reduces the stress level for cattle but also the producer. At the end of the day, Gill says it reduces animals’ need for antibiotics allowing the industry to be more judicious in its use of vaccines which all plays into the ongoing sustainability movement. The BQA is also about getting out in front of potential problems. It monitors this with an industry-wide audit conducted every five years. Gill believes it is better to identify areas of concern, before they become an issue. Some of the latest hot-button issues the BQA program has tried to address includes the transportation component of production and environmental stewardship as well.
“We don’t want to go back to that and try to fix problems,” he said. “We want to try to be a little bit more proactive and the BQA program is a proactive approach.
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