A new program emphasizing the health and husbandry practices of the U.S. beef producer just launched across the country. Known as Calf Care & Quality Assurance, or CCQA, it is hoped it will build on the success of the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program.
CCQA focuses on the calf-raising sector of both the beef and dairy industries, providing the first, collaborative educational tool to guide these segments and to help create consistency of practices across operations. It is a joint initiative led by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's BQA program, the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management program (FARM), and the Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) program. Funding comes from the Beef Checkoff and the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association.
One of the goals of the CCQA is to help consumers understand how calves are cared for, as well as to support today's calf-raisers.
"Ultimately, the consumer should feel good about knowing that calf-raiser sites following this program will be raising their calves in a responsible manner with their health and welfare as the top priority," explained Brett Boyum, a dairy production veterinarian with the Minnesota dairy, Riverview, and a member of the CCQA task force.
The CCQA program is set out in a manual, developed based on science and outcomes that accommodate the diversity of calf-raising enterprises and maintain facility-type-and-size neutrality. Producer-focused training modules will be available soon, following up on the manual and helping to certify producers in the principles of calf care.
According to the program's new website, information about the manual and certification will be available sometime in April. To learn more, go to: www.calfcareqa.org.
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