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.
BQA part 2 of 5
Jan 20, 2012
This Blog is Part-2 of 5, which outlines the benefits of implementing the BQA program into your BEEF farming operation. It’s works on herds of 4 to 4,000. Even animal rights activists can agree that BQA is a step in the right direction for BEEF producers. The following is an excerpt from the National BQA outline.
In coming weeks/Blogs, we’ll show you how to incorporate the BQA program into your farming operation. It’ll improve the welfare of your Cattle and your bottom line.
Because in this Stockman’s opinion…
It’s the right thing to do!
BQA Value-Added Beef
The BQA program's early emphasis was on assuring the real and perceived safety of beef. Gary Smith, Colorado State University Monfort Chair and professor of meat sciences, says BQA programming has been instrumental in building beef demand in the U.S. and elsewhere.
"Measures [in the early 1980s] were successfully designed to discourage inappropriate use . . . of antibiotics," he explains. "This included educating stakeholders about proper use of pharmaceutical products and the honoring of withdrawal times."
But ensuring safe beef products by implementing proper use of pharmaceuticals is only one aspect of the BQA program today. BQA programs have evolved to include best practices around good record keeping and protecting herd health, which can result in more profits for producers.
"If you look at the measurable losses in [market] cows and bulls from the audits, including losses from bruising and injection sites, we were losing about $70 per animal. With 4.5 to 5 million head marketed each year, that’s a considerable chunk of money," notes Dr. Dee Griffin, DVM, and associate professor at the University of Nebraska’s Great Plains Veterinary Education Center.
Griffin says that one way BQA can add value at market is by implementing it with older animals as well as with younger fed cattle. "Many restaurants only buy cuts of meat from ‘A’ maturity cattle. Each year the U.S. has to import tons of meat to fulfill this age requirement. It’s not because the age of the animals produces that much of a lower quality product; it’s because the industry does such a good job at managing the younger fed cattle. There is a tremendous opportunity if we can improve adherence with BQA standards in the older animals. This goes for application across the industry, including both beef and dairy producers," says Dr. Griffin.
Source referenced: Peck, Clint. "Going Forward with BQA." Beef Magazine. September 1, 2006.
Beef Operations Benefit
BQA does more than just help beef producers capture more value from their market cattle: BQA also reflects a positive public image and instills consumer confidence in the beef industry. When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, they assure their market steers, heifers, cows, and bulls are the best they can be. Today, the stakes are even higher because of increased public attention on animal welfare. BQA is valuable to all beef and dairy producers because it:
- Demonstrates commitment to food safety and quality.
- Safeguards the public image of the dairy industry.
- Upholds consumer confidence in valuable beef products.
- Protects the beef industry from additional and burdensome government regulation.
- Improves sale value of marketed beef cattle.
- Enhances herd profitability through better management.
Beef Check-off supported BQA programs bring it all together. While the BQA Manual provides a framework for program consistency, the states still determine the best programs for their producers.
"Because the beef industry is so diversified, we wanted to allow states the opportunity to provide what is best for their producers. The BQA Manual is the overarching protocol, providing some consistency across the state programs. They are good production practices to guarantee the quality of beef products," comments Dr. Dee Griffin, DVM.