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County Offices

Elko County Programs

Beef Quality Assurance

The Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, a national initiative, is dedicated to teaching beef producers safety and quality assurance practices in all aspects of their production.

The BQA program’s mission is to maximize consumer confidence in beef by focusing the industry’s attention on beef quality assurance through the use of science, research and education initiatives.

Issue:

American families expect and deserve quality and wholesome beef in which cow-calf producers are the first link in the production chain. What they do in the raising, feeding and marketing of these animals has an impact on the final beef product. The American consumer has demonstrated that the safety and quality of the food they eat are their top priorities. Thus, BQA has become a national initiative of top priority to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Nevada Cattlemen’s Association and the Cooperative Extension System throughout the nation.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalothapy (BSE) was discovered in the United States in 2004, which stopped exports of U.S., Canadian and English meats. Food-borne diseases, such as E.coli from contaminated meat, sicken thousands of Americans annually. The incentive in this voluntary program is the satisfaction that participants (beef producers) are doing everything in their power to produce a wholesome product. By attending this program and becoming certified, producers are increasing consumer confidence in their product — beef.

What Has Been Done:

BQA is an ongoing program that teaches cattle ranchers in all 50 states about animal genetics, cattle-handling, feed-purchasing, record-keeping, testing and other procedures to produce beef without residue of animal health products or pesticides. Participants work with veterinarians and scientists to learn how to keep their cattle healthy, increase product quality and enhance consumer confidence in their meat.

Since 2000, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) has taught safety and quality assurance practices to more than 600 Nevada beef producers in workshops, during conventions, via distance education and chute-side on ranches. More than 400 ranchers have become BQA-certified.

BQA through producer education was identified as a critical need by the NCBA, the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association and UNCE. Ron Torell and Dr. David Thain serve as Nevada’s Beef Quality Assurance state program coordinators and teach BQA along with other UNCE staff.

UNCE specialists use a 44-page Nevada-based BQA reference book, computer technology and an informational NCBA-produced CD to teach BQA principles. Participants work closely with veterinarians, scientists and other specialists to keep cattle healthy, as a result improving overall quality and consumer confidence.

In 2007, Cooperative Extensions from Nevada, Idaho and Utah teamed up and acquired an interactive exhibit, “Beef Quality is Every Cattleman’s Business.” The exhibit traveled throughout the three-state areas, educating more than 15,000 producers and consumers. In Nevada, the 2007 BQA display was exhibited at Bulls for the Twenty-First Century (400 producers), Fallon All Breeds Bull Sale (350 producers), Nevada State Fair (10,000 consumers) and the joint Nevada/California Cattlemen’s Convention (800 producers).

In January 2009, the Cattlemen’s Update program highlighted BQA and introduced the regional BQA program. The National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit and Regional BQA Certification also took place.

A low-stress, cattle-handling workshop was taught during the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association meeting and Cattlemen’s College to more than 150.

Impact:

More than 330 Nevada cattle producers have received national level 1 certification in the BQA program and more than 65 have become level 2 certified. By becoming BQA-certified, producers sign an affidavit that they will implement and follow the guidelines taught in the educational program. Western Video and Superior Livestock, the two auction houses that sell more than 80 percent of Nevada cattle, list cattle originating from BQA-certified ranches on consignments as Nevada BQA-certified.

Producers say that a better demand is realized for cattle processed under BQA guidelines. This program is having an impact on the way cattle are processed and marketed. A post-survey conducted by UNCE shows that 90 percent of participants who became certified have changed the way they process cattle. Additionally, the Nevada BQA program is part of national effort, which has resulted in a 25 percent reduction in the amount of injection site lesions due to improper vaccination protocol on beef cattle.

In January 2009, the Cattlemen’s Update program highlighted BQA and introduced the regional BQA program. The National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit and Regional BQA Certification also took place.

A low-stress, cattle-handling workshop was taught during the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association meeting and Cattlemen’s College to more than 150.

Partners:

Nevada Beef Council, Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Nevada Department of Agriculture

Printable Program Impact

Programs Program Information

Capacity Building for Healthy Communities

Capacity building strengthens an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission to have a positive impact on communities. Strategic thinking, visioning, action planning, and board development are capacity building activities.

Coffee Shop email helps ranchers make money

Nevada agriculture specialists have taken the traditional producer coffee-shop discussions into cyberspace. Cooperative Extension’s coffee shop is a national subscription email designed to provide a two-way communication network for livestock producers. The question-and-answer service provides answers to livestock production and marketing questions.

Collaborative Resource Stewardship improves rangeland management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) has helped lead Collaborative Resource Stewardship (CRS) efforts in northeastern Nevada over the past seven years, resulting in a model for other states and areas.

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS)

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS) is a compilation of evidence-based engagement and assessment tools that is used to audit and map community environmental features that support and/or hinder healthful eating and physical activity among community members. The MAPPS method integrates photography, participatory community mapping using global positioning system (GPS) technology, and residents’ voiced perceptions of their community. HEAL MAPPS engages people in community-based participatory research to document attributes of the rural community environment that are perceived by residents as obesity preventing or promoting and assess the local resources and readiness to implement community-level obesity prevention strategies to prevent unhealthy weight gain/overweight and obesity among children and their families.

Heart and Shield

Parents and children who have experienced domestic violence in the past participate in hands-on activities to foster family bonds, enhance communication and problem solving skills, and focus on healthy relationships. Parents learn about their child’s development, parenting styles, guidance, coping skills and health and wellness while children and youth build friendships, listening and other social and emotional skills. Each session of the 12-week program includes a healthy snack or meal, separate parent and child meetings, family-based activities, a health and wellness tip and a closing activity. Parent interact with one another during the parent meetings through group discussions, role play and other experiential-based activities. Children and youth learn important skills through play, group discussions, theatre arts, games and other hands on activities.

Integrated Pest Management

Nevada Department of Agriculture’s records show the use of traditional pesticides continues to increase in the state. Nevada’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program helps agricultural producers, land managers; pest control operators, homeowners and other pest managers learn about and use alternative pest management strategies in a variety of environments and settings.

Keeping Kids Safe: Recognizing, Reporting, and Responding to Child Maltreatment

Preventing child abuse and neglect is a high priority in Elko County. Child caregivers, youth workers, volunteers and anyone interested in learning what they can do to prevent child abuse and neglect can attend this workshop. Participants learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect, understand their reporting requirements and their role in preventing child maltreatment.

Nevada Range Management School

This University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program integrates sound science, collaboration and common sense to put public agency land managers, livestock permittees and other land users on the same page in terms of the range resource. It includes topics such as animal nutrition as related to range management.

Noxious Weed Control and Awareness Education

Noxious and invasive weeds are widespread throughout Nevada. They threaten agricultural and rangeland productivity. Rural counties are susceptible to significant adverse economic damage. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension education programs help individuals and weed control organization reduce the abundance of noxious weeds.

Project MAGIC

Project MAGIC is an innovative, collaborative program designed to help juvenile offenders leave the criminal justice system and become productive members of society. While participating in the program, young people ages 12 to 18 learn: positive communication skills, team building, problem solving and decision making, self-responsibility, conflict resolution, aspiration building and goal setting. Youth also select and conduct a service project designed to benefit their community. Parent sessions include the same life skills.

Risk Management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) develops and delivers a comprehensive risk management education program to livestock and forage producers in Nevada.

Sustainable Agricultural Practices

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension conducts several sustainable agriculture programs including researching alternative crops, introducing sustainable biodiversity/multiple use of rangelands, and increasing the number of pest control materials labeled in and increasing the knowledge and implementation rate of IPM practices in Nevada.

Statewide Programs *Statewide programs may not be available in all counties

Programs Program Information
4-H Youth Development
Beef Quality Assurance
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
Grow Your Own, Nevada
Herds and Harvest
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada Radon Education Program
Nevada State GEAR UP
Nevada Youth Range Camp
People of the Land
Pesticide Safety Education Program
Riparian and Watershed Assessment and Management
Stronger Economies Together
Unmanned Aerial Systems
Weed Prevention and Management