October 23, 2008
IQ+ Beef merges good business and best management practicesWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - As costs continue to increase, producers need to manage their animals for efficient growth and a higher-quality beef, a Purdue University specialist said.
The Indiana Quality Plus Beef certification program, an online tool developed by Purdue beef specialists, brings professionalism to raising cattle, said Matt Claeys, Purdue Extension beef specialist.
The program is designed to do three things, Claeys explained. First, it helps to educate producers about topics such as quality assurance, the environment and genetics, as well as how to handle pharmaceuticals. Second, it helps to ensure the health of the cattle. Third, it let's neighbors know the job is being done professionally.
"Essentially, this program brings to light the best management practices a producer should implement to add value, or at least not get discounts, to their cattle as they go through the production ladder," Claeys said. "It looks at the total production system from the grower to the feedlot to the end product.
Hoosier producers aren't the only ones using the program. Illinois and Georgia have recently signed up for the program, too.
"We are excited that Illinois and Georgia have come online and are supporting this program," said Phil Reid, who also helped developed the program. "The more states that participate, the more up to date producers will be with best management practices, which helps to ensure the safety of the food supply."
The program has been customized for beef producers in participating states and takes into account the different environmental regulations, issues and key contact people and organizations. Producers from non-participating states can still enroll in the program, but the environmental section will be different due to variation in regulations from state to state.
The IQ+ Beef program, the initial program a producer would take, includes four sections and takes approximately two hours to complete. The initial certification is valid for up to two to three years, depending on what state you're in. After that, producers need to be recertified, which takes about an hour. The program does not have to be completed in one sitting, but can be broken down by section. The cost to enroll in the program is $10 at https://www.IQbeef.org, which includes technical support.
The program can be done anywhere there is a computer with Internet access. It's a flexible program, Claeys said.
"It can be completed by producers on an individual basis or an educator can choose to offer it in a group setting and bring producers together at the local Extension office," he said.
For individuals who don't have Internet but would like to participate, contact the local Purdue Extension office.
"Producers will be asked to keep better records, which allow for better informed business decisions, as well as aid in the identification and avoidance of beef product defects," Claeys said.
Claeys encourages producers to establish a good relationship with a veterinarian because having a good relationship with the vet adds credibility to your cattle.
"Veterinarians are highly sought after for their opinions on a number of different topics, including animal health and helping make sure the food supply remains safe," he added.
The IQ+ Beef certification program is sponsored by Purdue Extension, Indiana Board of Animal Health, Indiana Veterinary Medical Association, the Beef Checkoff and the Indiana Beef Cattle Association.
Writer: Julie Douglas, (765) 496-1050, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Matt Claeys, (765) 494-4834, email@example.com
Phil Reid, (765) 496-7370, firstname.lastname@example.org
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