UW-Madison’s Division of Extension and Wisconsin Beef Council will be hosting a set schedule of in-person Beef Quality Assurance certification meetings over the coming months.
In-person sessions are intended for those who cannot complete the online certification available by going to https://www.bqa.org/ and clicking on ‘Certification’. Farmers are encouraged not to wait until the last minute to earn BQA certification or to recertify, as it is better that a current certification overlaps rather than expires. BQA certification is valid for three years, so producers who certified in 2018-2019 will need to be recertified.
To attend the in-person meetings, farmers should register seven days before the meeting date as attendance may be limited based on location capacity and to follow any COVID guidelines in place at that time. Walk-ins may be allowed. Due to limited capacity, it is encouraged that one individual per farm attend the in-person meetings. The individual attending the meeting will hold the BQA certification; family members and employees are covered by that certification when it is filed with the market(s). It is each individuals’ responsibility to share certification details with markets.
Note that for all Extension meetings, masks and social distancing may be required. Individuals not willing to comply will be asked to leave.
Buyers representing some large packers and processors only purchase cattle from farms selling beef breed types of finished cattle that are BQA Certified. JBS requires that producers selling cattle directly to their plants sign an affidavit stating that they are “in compliance with all applicable state or national BQA certification and verification programs.” National Dairy FARM certification is considered a BQA equivalent. The packer requirements represent their policy, not that of BQA or the Beef Checkoff program. Farmers with questions about BQA certification requirements should contact their markets or buyers directly.
BQA does more than just help beef producers capture more value from their cattle. BQA also reflects a positive public image and instills consumer confidence in the beef industry. When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, they assure the cattle they sell are the best they can be. Consumer research, conducted by the Beef Checkoff, showed that learning about BQA made consumers more confident in beef safety and animal welfare and improved positive consumer perceptions of how cattle are raised for food.