Thanks to efforts by beef farmers and ranchers in Iowa and across the U.S., consumers have access to more high-quality beef than ever before. One reason is the checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance program, which is being introduced to consumers for the first time by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contractor to the beef checkoff via a new consumer marketing campaign.
BQA, which has been around for more than 30 years, directs farmers and ranchers on cattle management techniques to ensure animals and the environment are cared for through a standard set of guidelines across the beef industry. Over 85% of beef produced in the U.S. today comes from a farmer or rancher who is BQA-certified.
"More and more, consumers want to know that their food is raised in a responsible manner," says David Bruene, a central Iowa beef producer. "Iowa consumers can feel good knowing there's a national program in place that sets consistent animal welfare and care standards across the beef industry, and the majority of the beef they purchase and consume comes from a BQA certified farmer or rancher."
Providing safe, high-quality beef
The marketing and communications campaign will include a new video from "Beef — It's What's For Dinner," available on beefitswhatsfordinner.com, highlighting the BQA program. Also, through Instagram stories that address common questions about how cattle are raised, consumers will learn more about BQA standards and guidelines. The video, website and social efforts provide an overview of the BQA program and ongoing commitment of cattle farmers to care for their animals and provide consumers the safest and highest quality beef possible.
Iowa Beef Industry Council staff will work with NCBA to disperse additional consumer messaging across multiple communication platforms. Producers can access the Iowa Beef Checkoff Facebook page for updates on this consumer messaging.
Nearly 11,000 Iowa beef producers have been certified through BQA programming facilitated by IBIC. Iowa producers have a strong commitment to the BQA program, says Bruene, and how common-sense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions.
"BQA is based on science, and its educational resources are developed and reviewed by experts, such as veterinarians and animal scientists, who have state-of-the-art knowledge of animal care and welfare," says Casey Allison, IBIC director of industry relations. "Voluntary participation in the BQA program in Iowa is an example of how Iowa's beef community is committed to raising cattle safely, humanely and sustainably."
Producers can become BQA certified by either attending a classroom course taught by Iowa BQA coordinators or by completing a series of online courses. Certification is good for three years, after which you must become recertified to ensure you have the most up-to-date information and are trained on the latest BQA guidelines.