Beef industry youth have the opportunity to become certified in Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) online at no cost. The Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University has launched a Youth Animal Care Training program.

The BQA program teaches participants about implementing best management practices to help enhance herd profitability and improve consumer confidence in high quality beef products. With increased public attention on animal welfare, BQA enables youth and producers to demonstrate their commitment to food safety and quality.

The program features free online educational training modules for youth through high school age. By participating in the training, youth can improve their knowledge of animal handling, animal welfare, antimicrobial residue avoidance and food safety. After a training package is completed, a certificate is available for printing.  Through the support of Beef Cattle Institute sponsors, the training packages, certification and electronic record of training are offered to youth at no cost.

“Animal handling, welfare, and disease prevention and control are very important management concepts to anyone who raises beef cattle,” said Dan Thomson, DVM, assistant dean of outreach for K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “As we move forward, it’s essential to teach our industry youth these practices early on so they become more routine and instinctive.”

Youth can work through the multimedia training modules at any time. Once all the modules within a package are completed and the quizzes are passed with 80 percent accuracy or higher, a certificate is available. There is no time limit or deadline to complete the modules and quizzes.

The program is designed to provide valuable online training in various areas of animal care. Each package is different in the length of time it takes to complete all of the modules. However, each module ranges from five to 20 minutes long.

The current training packages are:

  • Youth Beef Quality Assurance (28 modules)
  • Youth Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance (31 modules)

Youth need to re-certify every three years to keep their certificate for Beef Quality Assurance up-to-date. The system will send an email a month before the certification is up as a reminder to re-certify.

“As an educational program, BQA helps producers, including young cattle producers, identify management practices that can be improved,” said Ryan Ruppert, senior director of Beef Quality Assurance at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “The program raises consumer confidence through offering proper management techniques and a commitment to quality within every segment of the beef industry.  BQA is all about continuous improvement, and these modules get the future farmers and ranchers off on the right foot for a life time of improvement in beef production.”

The efforts of Beef Quality Assurance have been instrumental in recent successes that continue to re-build and sustain beef demand.  Through BQA programs, new and experienced producers recognize the economic value of committing to quality beef production at every level, not just at the feedlot or packing plant, but within every segment of the cattle industry.

“Youth are not tomorrow’s leaders; they’re today’s leaders. We must provide them with the tools to help them learn and move the industry forward,” Thomson said.

For more information about Youth Animal Care Training, see http://www.animalcaretraining.org