Cow-calf producers can now access a free Calf Care and Quality Assurance (CCQA) program online for certification of their operations.
"Committing to calf health management is the right thing to do for calves, producers, and consumers," said Wyoming rancher Trey Patterson. "Healthy calves are the cornerstone of every beef, dairy, and veal facility."
Patterson, chair of the Beef Quality Advisory Group, said the new CCQA's online learning module is an easy way to demonstrate a cattle producer's commitment to the responsibility they hold for their animals, consumers, the environment, and the broader U.S. cattle industry.
The CCQA program began development through industry collaboration going back to 2019. A task force of calf raisers, animal scientists, veterinarians, industry groups and other experts created the framework and foundational resources for the program. It was based in an understanding that calf-raising enterprises are diverse, and as such, the program is science- and outcomes-based. Facility type and size neutrality are built into CCQA, meaning this is a framework that can serve as a resource for anyone in the calf-raising business.
Currently, a manual, online modules, templates, fillable forms and a self-assessment tool are available. A CCQA audit tool is planned for release later this year. Completing the CCQA online module provides a certification equivalent to a Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification.
CCQA is a joint initiative and collaboration of already existing programs, including: the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program, and the Beef Checkoff-funded Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) program.
Patterson stressed that it's certification programs like CCQA that establish guidelines and standards that help "earn the public's trust, demonstrating that beef and dairy producers share their values and are committed not only to quality animal care, but also to ensuring safe, wholesome meat and milk."
For more information on the modules, resources and history of the program, go to www.calfcareqa.org.
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