Our family farming history began with my great-great-... (nine generations ago) grandfather Johannes. He, his wife and three children left Saxony, Germany, on April 20, 1734, aboard the ship St. Andrew, mastered by Capt. John Stedman. They landed at Philadelphia on Sept. 22 and eventually settled our family’s first "New World" farm near Society Run in Frederick Township, Montgomery County, Pa., in 1743. Pig farming was our family’s specialty until the mid 1950s. A lot has changed since then. Our BQA cow–calf operation includes 100% grass-fed registered Red Angus, Hereford and purebred Beefalo; 30 to 35 pastured Duroc and Spot pigs; 100 Freedom Ranger broilers; and 90 Golden Comet and Buff Orpington layers. We organically maintain 80 acres, comprising 15 acres in rotational pastures, 15 acres in tillable cropland, and alfalfa/mixed grass hay on the balance. We have never used chemical pesticides or herbicides on our pastures or hay fields. We are not a "certified" organic farming operation, but we prefer the natural/organic approach to help promote sustainability.
Beef Quality Assurance, Part 1
Jan 16, 2012
As we begin yet another new year,
it’s time to once again review what we should all be doing
to create the safest beef possible.
It doesn't matter if you’re a grass-based, 100% grass-fed,
grain-finished or feedlot producer.
This is the first installment of five focusing on BQA
What is BQA?
BQA is Beef Quality Assurance. It’s a national program that provides guidelines for beef cattle production. The program raises consumer confidence through offering proper management techniques and a commitment to quality within every segment of the beef industry.
Beef producers have embraced BQA because it is the right thing to do; It’s an educating program, that helps Beef producers identify management processes that can be improved on their farm’s & ranches that will refine or hone the way they handle their cattle.
"BQA is a process of figuring out what could go wrong, planning to avoid it – then validating and documenting what you have done. BQA is just part of good business," explains Dee Griffin, DVM, associate professor at the University of Nebraska’s Great Plains Veterinary Education Center. Griffin was among the BQA pioneers, and his words ring true for both beef and dairy producers. "The BQA Manual is the overarching guideline that provides consistency across the state programs. It provides good production practices to guarantee the quality of beef products," continues Dr. Griffin.
"BQA is not just about the mechanical part of beef production, like giving vaccines; it is also about the philosophical part, including proper handling and treatment of the animals," says Bill Mies, who served as the technical advisor for the BQA program at its inception. Mies was involved in research concerning beef quality while a professor in beef cattle science at Texas A&M University.
The guiding principles of BQA are based on these core beliefs:
WE BELIEVE production practices affect consumer acceptance of beef.
WE BELIEVE the BQA Program has and must continue to empower beef producers to improve the safety and wholesomeness of Beef.
WE BELIEVE these fundamental principles are the fabric of the BQA Program.
Empowering people…because producers can make a difference.
Taking responsibility…because it’s our job, not someone else’s.
Working together…because product safety and wholesomeness is everyone’s business.