A producers’ group funded by the beef checkoff is planning its next round of farmer-training sessions. Brian Waddingham with the Iowa Beef Industry Council helps present the Beef Quality Assurance Program in seminars around the state.Waddingham’s been giving the seminars himself for the last four years, and says in all there are about four-thousand producers around Iowa now who are “BQA Certified.” He says most of the time it turns out farmers are doing most everything according to BQA guidelines already. But there’s often something they can pick up, he adds, and once they’re certified, he says it goes a long way helping ensure consumer confidence in beef. You might sum up the philosophy of the program as — “A happy cow is a tasty cow.” The main focus is on animal health and care, he says, “Making sure we work those cattle as calmly and quietly as possible.” There’s information on how to vaccinate properly and maintain quality-control programs for feedstuffs as well as animal pharmaceuticals. It also includes good bio-security measures on the farm. Waddingham says Iowa producers are humane caretakers of their livestock, and anything the Beef Industry Council can provide to make their job easier and “their cattle more comfortable,” is a win-win in the production chain. The program’s funded by the dollar-a-head beef checkoff that’s assessed when the animals are sold. After the last seminar series ended earlier this month, Waddingham says there’s a hiatus planned, as farmers are heading into a busy season, with fair season and the harvest ahead.
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