Beef Quality Assurance

I was watching my RFD-TV a few days ago and an episode of ‘All-Around Performance Horse’ was on. It is one of my favorite shows on the channel.

They were having the High Oaks Ranch annual branding and did a great job of showing the real-life way that we work cattle. During the broadcast, they explained the reasons for doing the things that should be done to create high quality, safe beef. It was a family affair with lots of friends helping to carry out a western tradition of a very important job that some call the “spring works.”

With all our work we do to beef cattle it is very important we use certain best quality practices. No matter if you are a cowboy, farmer, feedyard employee, dairy farmer or any other person involved in the production of beef, it is very important to learn the proper way to administer vaccines and antibiotics, understand the importance of proper dosage administration, and be double sure to not market cattle until proper withdrawal times have been reached.

I used to think all this shot placement was a bunch of malarkey until I saw a demonstration of a steer posted (euthanized) after a bunch of different meds were administered improperly to him a day or to prior to the posting. I was totally shocked at the results (bruising, scarring, and general damage to muscle tissue) of misused and misplaced injections.

Because of this I became a believer and knew it was important to learn more. Please get up to speed on Beef Quality Assurance. You can go on the Internet and learn more. Most states have several BQA trainings a year and your veterinarian would most likely really like to help you to get better at keeping your beef animals properly taken care of.

I was watching I Am Angus and a feedlot operator by the name of Ann Burcholder was speaking about the quality of beef. She explained that it was very important to her operation to do the right thing because her children eat the same beef she sells. This is a great point. Get personal in your thoughts about beef quality. We all have good friends, family, and innocent children that we must protect from harm. Do it for them.

BQA started with the intent of improving what could be called chute side techniques. It has evolved to include so much more information. Beef Quality Assurance is a three word phrase that is very important and I feel all involved in the beef industry should take some time to think about its importance.

Adele Bitner, a lady I have worked with in Canada, is someone whom I feel really understands issues in the livestock industry. She once told me people don’t have to eat beef. This is a very, very important thing to realize. Consumption of beef per person is on the decrease in North America. This may be for many reasons, but I want to make sure it is not a trust issue.

The honesty and integrity of the beef producer is legendary. All the old time deals were done on a handshake and a man’s word was his most valued asset. What has happened? People don’t trust each other anymore and that is really sad.

John Wayne and the cowboys Mister Anderson, Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke, Lonesome Doves‘ Gus and Captain Call – these movie characters showed the moral standards in which the western cowboy stood for. This is what I liked about Ronald Reagan. You may not have agreed with his politics, but you knew you were dealing with a man that stood by his principles.

I am not a big fan of certified organic. When you have to certify your honesty on how a product is produced it goes against my morals, and it seems to create cheats in the system. I am much more fond of looking someone in the eye, shaking their hand, and telling them the truth about what I have done to produce the product.

This is what the phrase “beef quality assurance” means to me:  Beef producers being honest and having the integrity to learn best management practices.

I travel the country wearing a cowboy hat and with ‘Eat Beef’ stickers on my bags. When I visit with people I want to be able to honestly tell them that they can trust me and the people I represent. There is a man sitting behind me as I write this that came up and shook my hand and thanked me for raising beef. He has two young daughters with him. I owe it to this guy to do the right thing. You owe it to this guy to do the right thing. We owe it to those pretty little girls.

So a big thank you to all the pioneers in the beef industry. My cowboy hat goes off to the folks that started the BQA program many years ago, and to all the dedicated folks that are continuing the education of Beef quality Assurance, and those producers that are on the pursuit of excellence in beef. The Stockmanship and Stewardship program that the NCBA sponsors is a part of the BQA picture. I hope to do my part to increase of knowledge on animal handling and stewardship of our land. I do it in honor of the old timers, for the land and animals, and for the Dad and the two little girls behind me.

To learn how to get BQA certified go to http://www.bqa.org/ to find a meeting near you or get certified online.

~ Curt Pate

One thought on “Beef Quality Assurance

  1. Virginia Toole

    Hi: I certainly have to agree that honesty is the best policy. It is also my opinion that we should use plain language to say what we do—not politically correct jargon–that is easily misinterpreted. We butcher cattle and chickens and hogs. We harvest grains. I refuse to tell people what they want to hear unless I believe what I am telling them is the truth–whether they buy my beef, chicken etc. or not. I think truth in production is more important than the sale.

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