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Dan Loy, Iowa Beef Center director's monthly column featured in Cattleman Magazine. Archives

Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine


January 2018

Are you trained in BQA? Are all of your employees and family members trained in BQA principles? Increasingly, the market outlets for your cattle are demanding that you are. Already Tyson Foods is requiring this through its Farm Check program. Next year Cargill will require 90% of its feedlot suppliers to be BQA certified. Other packers are implementing similar requirements. Wendy’s plans to buy beef only from feedlots whose employees are BQA certified by 2019.

This has come about because more consumers are continuing to ask questions about how the animals that produced their food are raised. Beef packers have logically looked at BQA as the standard bearer of certification. Even though one reason for becoming BQA certified may be to access markets, really, it is just the right thing to do.

While a lack of BQA training for cow-calf producers might not limit market access, it may have the potential for premiums. BQA training is the primary metric for animal care indicators from the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. Any verified sustainable program adhering to these guidelines will require it. Incorporating low stress handling principles has been shown to improve animal health and performance. Proper handling and injection of vaccines and medications ensure that the products work and the food supply is safe for consumers.  And even if no premiums exist, BQA training is good business.

Because of increased demand for BQA education, the Iowa Beef Center has entered a partnership with the Iowa Beef Industry Council for the delivery of BQA education in Iowa. Doug Bear continues to give outstanding leadership to the program as State BQA Coordinator but the move brings more boots on the ground to bring training to you. This arrangement actually started this fall and you might have already noticed local BQA certification sessions by our field specialists. Look for us to add BQA sessions to some existing programs for your convenience. For information on local BQA certification opportunities, contact your regional Extension Beef Specialist or the IBC for details. BQA certification is also available online (

Each year the Iowa Beef Center partners with other states and organizations in the development and delivery of major conferences across Iowa. This month several will bring cutting edge information and speakers to producers in Iowa and our bordering states.

Jan. 16-18 is the Three-State Beef Conference. This program will be conducted in sites in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri, with the Iowa site in Creston on Jan. 16.

Jan. 16 also is the Northwest Iowa Feedlot Forum in Sioux Center and is held in cooperation with the Sioux, Lyon and Plymouth County Cattlemen’s Associations and the Iowa Cattleman’s Association.

Jan. 18-19 The Iowa Forage and Grasslands Council brings a great educational program to Ames.

Jan. 25-26 The Driftless Region Beef Conference will be held in Dubuque. This conference is co-sponsored by the Extension and Outreach programs of Iowa State University, University of Wisconsin, University of Illinois, and the University of Minnesota.

Jan. 27 The Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference in Ottumwa is one of the premier cow-calf educational events in the U.S.

For speakers, topics and registration information on any of these programs please check out our website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter, Growing Beef  or contact your local beef specialist. We hope to see you there.


The IBC at Iowa State University serves as the university’s extension program to cattle producers. Our center comprises a team of faculty and staff from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. We work together to develop and deliver the latest in research-based information to improve the profitability and vitality of Iowa’s beef industry. If you’d like to be notified of updates on progress of research projects or programs that might be coming to your area, please subscribe to our “Growing Beef” newsletter by following the link on our website, If you have a question, use the “Ask our Experts” link on the website. Also, feel free to call us at 515-294-BEEF or email us at You can also follow @iowabeefcenter on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.



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