Oklahoma cattle producers can earn Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification at two in-person meetings in August, with appropriate social distancing and other coronavirus precautions in place.
“We recognize many people are rightfully cautious about getting out and about, but we’re taking steps to ensure minimal possible exposure to the virus; BQA certification is a requirement for producers to participate in Oklahoma Beef Quality Network (OQBN) fall sales, so we’re offering the opportunity for them to get that certification if needed,” said Shannon Mallory, Kay County Extension agricultural educator.
The first meeting is scheduled for Aug. 6, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., at the fairgrounds in Blackwell. The second meeting is Aug. 20, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Alfalfa County Fairgrounds in Cherokee. Breakfast refreshments will be provided at the Blackwell event and a sponsored lunch will be provided at the Cherokee meeting. There is no cost to attend either event.
BQA is a nationwide program that raises consumer confidence by offering research-based best management techniques and fostering a commitment to quality within every segment of the beef industry. The August certification meetings are sponsored by Oklahoma State University Extension and the Oklahoma Beef Council.
“We’re asking participants to RSVP to help us plan for necessary social distancing,” said Tommy Puffinbarger, Alfalfa County Extension director and agricultural educator. “In a normal year, we would have started hosting meetings in April and continued through the summer.”
(Beef Quality Assurance certification helps cattle producers receive significant premiums for their animals at fall market sales. Photo by Todd Johnson, OSU Agricultural Communications Services.)
Participants can RSVP for the Blackwell meeting by contacting the Kay County Extension Office by email at email@example.com or by phone at 580-362-3191. Those attending the Cherokee event should contact the Alfalfa County Extension Office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 580-596-3131.
For those who do not need in-person training assistance, BQA certification is available online through the national office.
Being able to take advantage of OQBN fall sales is a good investment for cattle producers, said Jeff Robe, program coordinator for the university’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences.
“OQBN provided excellent value to participating producers in 2019, despite fallout from lethargic price swings in the fall markets because of the Kansas packing plant fire, ongoing trade negotiations and slow wheat growth around the state,” he said.
The estimated gross revenue associated with OQBN was nearly $896,000 in 2019. On average, cattle producers have received a premium of $12.75 per hundredweight at fall market sales over the last nine years.