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Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance Update
Dr. Becky Funk talks about recent updates with Nebraska BQA program.
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I have been asked to give a little bit of an update
on the status of the Beef Quality Assurance program
here in Nebraska.
As many of you may be aware
that program itself is going
through some transition currently.
Rob Eirich, who was our program coordinator for some time
stepped down at the first of the year
take a different position and extension.
And that has led to
some changes in the program in June or so.
I was asked to come on board as the interim coordinator.
And so that is the role I've been filling
the last couple months.
And just going to give you an update on
where the program is headed in the future today.
So a little bit of background on the BQA Program in general,
although most of you probably don't need it.
This has taken right off of the national website
and it's just the foundation of the program
or the foundation of the values
that the program is established on.
We believe that the production practices
that we participate in
as beef cattle producers do affect
the consumer acceptance of beef,
that those downstream effects are apparent
and can affect our ability to market our product.
We believe that the BQA program has
and will continue to empower beef producers
to make improvements in that.
And that product that we provide to the consumer
and that we always are doing things to be mindful
of the safety and the wholesomeness of that beef product.
We believe that these are the underlying principles
of the BQA program,
and that they're critically important to maintaining
that market share that we're after for that product.
So as mentioned before,
there are some new faces in the program.
I am the Interim Coordinator.
If you have had issues with your certification
or have been in search of a trainer,
you may have already talked to me.
If you call over the next couple of months,
I'm probably the person you were going to get,
but come this fall, there will be another change.
We have hired a permanent coordinator
to fill Rob's position, and that person is Jesse Fulton.
He as he obtained his Masters of Animal Science from SDSU
and has just come off of spending five years with NCPA
as the Director of Producer Education.
There NCBA he was involved with managing
the most recent National Beef Quality Audit.
So that audit, that kind of drives the BQA program
that tells what we've made improvements in,
what we still need to make improvements in
and where we're going.
If you have participated in any of those NCBA webinars
that they've been putting out this year,
those virtual learning opportunities
during the course of the COVID pandemic,
you've probably seen the products
of his work have seen him present on those.
He will be housed in
the Panhandle Research and Extension Center
in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
So while currently we're at clay center,
and that's where you've been sending all of your materials
or where you've been receiving them from,
he will be going back to that office.
So that address will be returning out there.
With all the transition that BQA program
is going to get a new look.
The manual that everybody's familiar with is
our Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance manual.
It is a state only manual,
but the last time it was updated was in 2007.
So this manual is fully 13 years old.
And with that is become outdated.
Some things that are missing in it,
as many of you are probably aware the VFD has been
implemented in that time period
and it is not included in there.
A certain industry benchmarks
that are included in that manual.
Certainly outdated those industry numbers
haven't been updated.
In that time the National Beef Quality Audit
has been redone.
So some of those things
that we look to to direct the program have changed.
And then also there's some emerging issues
that are not included in this manual
and things such as increasing concerns about
transportation quality assurance,
increasing concerns about sustainability in
the beef industry are discussed in detail.
So with that, we decided instead of the investment
to rewrite and republish our own state manual,
the national program has just finished an updates period
with their manual finishing up just last year.
The full manual is actually in print.
I have those available in my office.
If anybody needs them, feel free to contact me
and I can get those out to you.
And it's also available online at bqa dot org.
The other resource that will be available
coming this fall it should go to print is the field guide.
It is a shorter, more concise version of that manual.
So something that you may see used more widely
and say, employee trainings
for feed yards or things like that.
It is currently available online,
If you wanna have a look at it,
but again, it'll be going to print this fall.
We expect to have them in the office
towards the first of the year hopefully.
So with that, here will be a bit of a new direction
for the program as well.
The one thing that has already changed,
if you partake in email communication with us,
you've already seen this
instead of assigning an email to an individual person
as we have done in the past,
we decided that it would make transitions a lot smoother
to have a program email.
So our email right now is Nebraska email@example.com,
and that will stay consistent
through staff changes should they occur.
You can send that to me.
You can set email communication to me now,,
and Jesse will have access to that email
as the program email, when he starts.
The other thing that is being reworked,
it that is in progress is the website is due
for a fairly large overhaul.
So those are coming soon.
Our website is listed there.
If you have any interest in having a look at it,
but know that it may have a period here
where it will be under construction.
And really we're going to try
and refocus that to be a more user friendly website.
A place where producers can get timely information
for industry issues that they may be curious about.
If their certification needs updating
we can get information there,
better access to that trainer list
and make it a little more comprehensive
as we update that in the coming months.
And then hopefully as a longterm goal,
we'd like to have producers
actually have access to their own certification records
instead of having to call the office,
make sure there's somebody in the office
to look up your records hopefully we can get that where
as a producer, you can look up that record yourself
and do it on demand.
With improvements in the website,
We're renewing our commitment at Nebraska BQA
to provide producers with more timely industry information,
trying to keep these things updated in a more timely manner.
So that if you do have questions about changes
that are currently occurring in the industry,
this could be a good resource for you
that we can go there to get those answers
when they're needed and keep
that updated in a better manner.
The other focus that we're we're implementing or renewing,
I guess is new trainer support materials,
or should be coming soon,
obviously with changing manuals
and changing producer materials,
there's going to be some needs to update those trainers
and get them up to speed on the new materials we're using.
And then, that renewed commitment
to the Nebraska Trainer Network.
The Nebraska BQA program has always had a foundation
of a very robust trainer network of veterinarians
and extension educators.
And we are recommitting to continue that,
to keep those trainers up to date,
give them some options and some resources to make their job
as trainers easier,
whether it be just downloadable presentations.
So they don't have to write those themselves
or resource options such as videos,
or even just picture banks
where they can download good pictures
to put their own presentations together
if that's how they want to approach trainings.
So those are all different things
that are coming in the next few months.
So stay tuned as I work through the program updates.
So we get Jesse on board.
There'll be a lot of changes coming down the pipe.
So despite the new Look
that the Nebraska BQA program will have.
The program itself fundamentally has not changed
Beef Quality Assurance
from its inset was a producer driven
producer implemented program.
And that remains true to this day
and will continue to be true in the future.
If you look at the author's list on that new manual,
you'll see that the vast majority of those authors
are producers themselves.
So that tradition will continue
to be a true going forward with the program.
But, the program does continue to grow
and develop in response to those industry needs.
Some things that are coming
or are in process of being implemented.
One of the big things as we've looked at the industry
and gone through those industry audits,
the transportation quality assurance
has become an important component
of quality assurance training.
We started to become aware that
during the process of transport,
we were seeing increased bruising in the packing plant,
which led to increased trim.
When we tracked that back,
we were finding out that
while truck sizes have not changed
in the last decade cattle sizes certainly have,
and that's potentially giving us
some problems in the industry
and that transportation quality assurances is the program
that is looking to address that problem.
Rob actually had,
many of you may have been to a training for this already.
Rob was doing some of those within the last couple of years.
Jesse has been very involved in
that program at a national level.
So I expect that program to expand and grow in Nebraska
as we get him on board as well.
Sustainability is something that's coming to the forefront
as an industry issue now,
and that that had not necessarily been addressed in the past
as a Beef Quality Assurance training topic,
but it is included particularly
from the environmental sustainability environmental,
issues is included now in Beef Quality Assurance Resources
on antibiotic stewardship or available
on the National BQA website
and in exploring our role as beef producers in maintaining
the efficacy of those products,
not only in our own industry,
but looking at how it affects the human health industry
as well, and exploring how we do our,
how we perform our part in making sure
those antibiotic resources are still something
that we can maintain longterm.
Stockmanship is something else
that there is training resources on the website.
And I expect to see them implement an in person.
A lot of our trainers in the state are already doing this
as part of their client training that stockmanship,
and that emphasis on low stress animal handling
and how that affects health
and how that affects production is really being
concentrated on in some of those trainings.
The other thing that will continue
as part of the BQA program is
that assessment those National Beef Quality Audits
are key components of making the decision on
what topics are critical to address going
forward in the industry.
And so the last one was in 2016.
So my expectation is we're probably coming close to
due for another round of those,
but those will continue to be a critical part
of the BQA program.
Nebraska BQA as a program has a long history
of working closely with our industry partners
here in Nebraska whether
that be the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association,
Corporate Partners, like a Lanco
who is helping us out today with sponsorship
of the open house or those entities
that help sponsor producer trainings
or train the trainers throughout the state.
And throughout the year, we continue to look forward to,
to having those great partners
and having them help us provide the quality producer
and trainer education
that we've always been able to provide in the past.
So none of those things are changing with all the transition
and the program.
So, Just in wrap up this is also taken off
of the national BQA website at bqa dot org
and some of the pillars of the BQA program.
We feel that empowering people
because producers can make a difference.
You as a beef producer, what you do every day matters.
It matters to your operation,
it matters to the next guy in line,
and it matters to that consumer.
That's ultimately the end consumer of our product,
and then taking responsibility
because it is our job to do things right every day,
not someone else's every small thing
that you take responsibility to do right
in your operation does affect all
those downstream individuals in the chain.
And working together
because ultimately the beef industry is a team.
And if one of us isn't doing our job,
then that has the potential to affect everyone.
So it is working together because that product safety
and wholesomeness is everybody's business
and it affects everybody's business ultimately.
So with that, I will close and take any questions.
This is the current program, contact information.
If you need that.
Like I said before, currently we are working out
of my office here at
the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center.
I'm in Clay Center, Nebraska.
There is our email once again, it's firstname.lastname@example.org.
And the website has not changed it is still bqadotunl.edu.
And then the two phone numbers.
I have my main office number,
If you need to get ahold of my office staff,
that they can help you, or my direct extension,
if it's something that I need to help you with,
if you feel more comfortable going that direction.
I'm happy to talk to you at any time.
If you have concerns
or if you need certification information, give us a holler.
We can help you out with that.
We can get any of that without you need.
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