Editor’s note: The following was written by Travis Meteer, University of Illinois Extension educator, for the Cattle Connection blog.

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a national program that provides a continuing education opportunity for farmers and ranchers.

By now, you as a beef producer realize that the beef business is a consumer-driven business. Grassroots programs, like BQA training, are the foundation to reinforcing consumer confidence. By becoming BQA certified, a producer is not only helping secure a bright future for beef, but also refining management practices and animal handling qualities that can help improve the bottom line.

The first question producer’s ask is “What is the benefit of the certification to me?” There are numerous benefits. By becoming BQA certified, a producer is directly illustrating the passion and carefulness that they display on a daily basis when caring for animals. As the consumer is further removed from farming and agriculture, it is more important to document your commitment to BQA practices.

BQA also equips producers with skills and knowledge to reduce or eliminate carcass defects, carcass bruising and animal stress. Participating in a BQA program keeps you up to date on the newest beef industry news, helps improve record keeping, opens market opportunities, and simply put, it is the right thing to do.

If you are not BQA certified or your certification is out-of-date, visit https://bit.ly/2zR3EEx for a list of in-person trainings in Illinois and https://bit.ly/2QwOQlk for trainings in Iowa.

Training is also free online at www.bqa.org.