Consumers will soon learn about the steps beef farmers and ranchers take to care for their animals and to produce high-quality beef in a new promotion and advertising campaign about the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program.
BQA trains farmers and ranchers on best practices and cattle management techniques to ensure that their animals and the environment are cared for in accordance with a standard set of guidelines. The program began 30 years ago, and today, more than 85% of beef produced in the U.S. comes from a farmer or rancher who is BQA certified.
The producer-facing BQA program will now be introduced to consumers via a campaign designed to meet their desire to learn more about how beef is produced. The integrated marketing and communication campaign includes a new video from Beef. It's What's for Dinner that brings the BQA program to life by highlighting how cattle farmers and ranchers across the country raise cattle under BQA guidelines. The video will be used in marketing efforts and is available to consumers on the new BQA section of BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.
Consumers will also be able to learn more about BQA through interactive "BQ&A" Instagram stories addressing common questions about how cattle are raised. The video, website and social activations provide consumers with an overview of the BQA program and the ongoing commitment of cattle farmers and ranchers to caring for their animals and providing the safest and highest-quality beef possible.
"According to market research, the majority of consumers say they consider how and where their food is raised when making a meal decision," said Josh White, executive director of producer education at the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn., a contractor to the beef checkoff. "The BQA program offers consumers assurance that there are consistent animal care standards in place across the beef industry. BQA exemplifies what beef farmers and ranchers have always cared about: a commitment to caring for their animals and providing families with the safest and highest-quality beef possible, and we look forward to introducing this important program to consumers."
The foundation of BQA is a set of educational resources promoting animal care practices that are based in science and align with government regulations. These resources are reviewed by an expert advisory group consisting of farmers and ranchers, veterinarians and animal scientists who meet quarterly to evaluate the program, discuss trending topics, review the latest research and make recommended changes or updates, as needed.
The BQA program specifically addresses and provides training in cattle handling, cattle health, cattle nutrition and cattle transportation, among others.
"With the vast majority of the beef supply in the U.S. today coming from a BQA-certified farmer or rancher and many packing plants and restaurant chains setting BQA requirements, consumers should have the utmost confidence in the beef they consume and purchase both at restaurants and supermarkets," White added.
Cattle farmers and ranchers can become BQA certified either by attending a classroom course taught by a network of hundreds of state BQA coordinators and trainers or by completing a series of robust online courses. Certification is good for three years, after which time farmers and ranchers must become re-certified to ensure that they have the most up-to-date information and are trained on the latest BQA guidelines.
Not only does the BQA program provide guidelines for proper animal care and welfare, but these management guidelines also result in the production of higher-quality beef. In fact, the beef industry is producing more high-quality beef today than ever before, with more than 80% of beef grading the highest available U.S. Department of Agriculture quality grades of Prime or Choice, according to the program.