“I’m absolutely convinced that documenting what we accomplished is the next decade of BQA,” Dr. Griffin says.

Harkening back to that principle of figuring out what can go wrong, how to avoid it and then documenting what has been accomplished, Dr. Griffin believes the future is all about that last point.

Feedlots today are being asked to do audits for companies like McDonald’s. Packers are asking feeders to meet certain criteria to ensure that they can provide product to multi-national corporations” Dr. Griffin says. “We will see auditing requirements move backwards to the farm. Audits will become an increasing presence in livestock production. Assessments become step one to prepare you for these audits.” He adds that on-farm auditing is already occurring in the poultry and pork industries. He suspects dairy will be the first cattle sector to face them.

Take a look at the BQA assessments for feedyard, cow-calf and stocker operations available for free at BQA.org. Some producers work through assessments on their own. Others find added value in working through them with their veterinarians.

Either way, and even if auditing never gets shoved all the way back to the ranch, Dr. Griffin explains, “It gives people a chance to see how they can improve the management and production in their own operations.”

Besides helping producers hone the competitiveness of their own operations, Dr. Hill believes assessments help the industry as a whole with its collective competitive edge. He adds that it is also a way for the industry to document the facts of production that can be shared with consumers, rather than allowing misinformation to command the void.

“We get a lot of interns and visitors to our operation. I tell everyone who works here to do things as if someone from PETA was watching them,” Nichols says. “When we see animal neglect or abuse around here, we call our local authorities who go and tell the people to take care of the stock or sell them. I don’t think any of us as producers can afford to turn our heads to those kinds of things any longer.”