Date: 6/5/2014 12:00:00 AM

Title: Summer is full of Beef Quality Assurance training

One man and ten cattle. He moves them through a bud box, around a pen, into a tub and through a chute on his own. No raised voices, waving hands or electronic prods. Veterinarian and BQA trainer Kip Lukasiewicz knows that none of those tactics are as effective as a calm demeanor and working the point of balance, which is the animal’s shoulder.

“Cattle will move forward if you stand behind their point of balance, and they will back up if you are in front of that point of balance,” he told those attending the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training held in Ames in early June.

Doug Bear of the Iowa Beef Industry Council said there were 69 cattle producers who completed or renewed their BQA certification at the event.

There will be many other opportunities this summer to become BQA-certified this summer. Check our Events Calendar to find Beef Quality Assurance trainings that are already scheduled.

BQA training is becoming more critical to cattle producers as packers begin changing requirements that will affect the information producers must provide to market cattle. In some cases, the packers are suggesting they will want audited processes, and BQA can universally meet the basis of the audits.

Beth Doran, beef program specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, said, “Consumers want to know more information about how cattle are cared for, and packers have listened closely to consumers’ requests. They want to know how the cattle are fed and managed before they go to market.”

The beef industry recognized this concern more than 30 years ago and began developing a voluntary certification program called ‘Beef Safety Assurance.’ The guidelines that have developed since then provide producers information on handling cattle in all circumstances, from cows on pasture to the humane way to handle sick animals.

Lukasiewicz told the cattlemen and women at the Ames event: “Many handlers make the mistake of standing in front of the point of balance while others attempt to make an animal move forward in a chute. Cattle in a chute will often move forward without prodding when that handler walks past the point of balance, moving in the opposite direction of the animal. It is not necessary to prod every animal.”