Beef Quality Assurance
Beef Quality Assurance – Portage County
Haley Shoemaker, OSU Extension
“Don’t wait until you need it – now is the time to get BQA Certified”
Cooler weather is finally upon us, and for many producers, this is a time of year when decisions are made on who gets to stay in the herd one more season and who takes a ride to the nearest auction barn. If you are one of those producers, or if you plan on marketing any cattle in the future, you may want to check sale requirements before hooking up the trailer.
As of January 1, 2019, companies such as Tyson Foods and Wendy’s Restaurant, as well as multiple auction facilities, will only accept beef that originates from a producer current with their Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification. If that statement didn’t catch your attention, let me put it this way: Tyson Foods processes over 25% of U.S. beef, and Wendy’s is currently the second largest hamburger chain in the nation - there is good chance that other processors, retailers and restaurants will follow suit.
Now, this is not meant to scare producers or imply that the beef they are raising is not already top quality. This push to become BQA certified is to ensure that the cattle you are raising will retain market access and continue to bring profit. I like to think of it this way – at one point calves brought a premium if they were vaccinated, weaned, castrated and healthy. Today, this preconditioning is not only expected, but the lack of it will likely result in a discount on that calf. BQA is very similar in that for now, marketing calves that have been raised in a BQA certified manner may bring about premiums, but without that certification behind them some buyers won’t give a second look.
Fact of the matter is, this program is currently voluntary - but market access and cattle profitability aren’t something to take your chances on. In an effort to keep your cattle in demand and marketable, a BQA training will be offered through Portage County OSU Extension Thursday, December 6 at 6:30 p.m. Call 330-296-6432 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
To learn more, visit portage.osu.edu