You’ve got to get your boots on the ground and be an extra set of eyes for your producers,” says Dan Thomson, DVM, Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology at Kansas State University’s (KSU) College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Thomson is speaking about the assessments that are part of the nation’s Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, as well as the need for veterinarians to serve their clients with knowledge and service that extends beyond animal health issues.

“The challenge for veterinarians is that they have to stay ahead of the curve, ahead of the training their clients are receiving,” Dr. Thomson says.

In the case of BQA, consider that 3,600 producers became BQA certified online between February 15 and March 15. That’s when Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. partnered with the BQA program to cover the $25-$50 certification cost of individual producers.

“Not only do veterinarians need to know BQA inside and out, they need to know how to translate that information into action,” emphasizes Dr. Thomson, who also serves as director of KSU’s Beef Cattle Institute which coordinates Animal Care Training, including online BQA training and BQA certification.

Translating information into action is the nexus where Dr. Thomson believes veterinarians need to focus in partnering with clients for the sake of animal care and operational sustainability.

Although BQA principles and the goal of unsurpassed animal care remain constant, Dr. Thomson explains, “It won’t be one set of best management practices that works for all operations. Based on the client’s technical ability, geography, resources, facilities, and the type and size of cattle, best management practices will be different. Best management practices on a farm change from day to day based on the cattle arriving and the people who show up for work that day.”

bqa certified cowherd with angus cows