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Washoe 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

4-H Afterschool

All children face risks as they grow and develop, but children who live in low-income housing or are homeless may be at higher risk for participating in risky behaviors. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed the 4-H After School Club (ASC) to teach children basic life skills including math, reading, science, positive communication, goal setting, self-responsibility, decision-making and good nutrition. Youth who have these life skills are less likely to participate in risky behaviors.

Calming the Waters: Learning to Manage Western Water Conflict

Conflict has surrounded the Truckee, Carson and Walker River Basins for decades. Key issues include historical use on tribal lands, historical and current water rights, threats to water quality, and wildlife habitat protection. This program teaches youth about Nevada’s water issues and helps them develop the skills needed to address future water conflicts.

Engaged Leadership Program

Washoe County, Nevada, needed advanced training and skill building for the county’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) members to help them to participate effectively in local government issues that impact their communities. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension developed and implemented an Engaged Leadership program to assist chairpersons and CAB members in their efforts to create and sustain effective boards.

Family Storyteller Literacy Program

National award-winning Family Storyteller is a literacy program aimed at encouraging and training parents to play a vital role in the literacy development of their children. Developed by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), KNPB-TV, the Washoe County libraries and Washoe County School District, the statewide program creates an opportunity for parents and young children to interact around literacy and language activities. Family Storyteller is designed especially for families that may have limited language skills and few children’s books at home.

Fun To Play

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Fun To Play program targets families where, due to the young age, inexperience or limited resources of the parents, young children are placed at-risk for developmental delays and later school difficulties. Fun To Play is a series of weekly infant/child sessions aimed at improving the parenting skills of young parents by increasing the amount of learning activities and interaction they provide their children.

Green Industry Training Programs of Northern Nevada

Green Industry Training (GIT) and Green Industry Continuing Education Series (GICES) are cost- and time-efficient approaches to serving the Green Industries of northern Nevada, including nursery workers, landscapers, arborists, irrigation and lawn care professionals. The Green Industry Training program begins in late winter with eight three-hour sessions of entry-level training for new industry workers, for those desiring to work in the industry and for existing industry professionals desiring a skills "tune-up." After "basic training," industry members are invited to monthly continuing education opportunities — one hour per month over the noon hour — to hone and improve their skills.

Grow Your Own, Nevada

Grow Your Own, Nevada is a statewide University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program designed to help people discover the secrets to gardening in our high-desert climate. The program includes eight two-hour weekly sessions. Classes are held live in Reno in the spring, summer and fall, and are provided by video conference to Cooperative Extension offices across the state.

Grow Yourself Healthy

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.

Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages

Issue:

Living With Fire

Living with Fire is a comprehensive, multi-agency program aimed at teaching homeowners how to live more safely in high wildfire-hazard environments. The program, encompassing research and education, was developed in 1997 as a result of a collaboration between University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), Nevada’s Agricultural Experiment Station and the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, a group of 12 Nevada and California firefighting agencies.

Master Gardeners in Nevada

Master Gardeners provide free, research-based horticulture information to Nevadans. They are volunteers who learn advanced plant science skills from at least 50 hours of classroom instruction by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) professionals. After training, Master Gardeners volunteer a minimum of at least 50 hours a year to pass along their newly acquired knowledge through the media, talks and workshops. They answer phone calls, send out informational materials and develop community gardens.

NEMO Nevada, Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials

The NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) program was originated in Connecticut and has spread nationwide. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers the NEMO program in Washoe County. The premise is that improvements in land-use planning can result in protection of water resources, which can negate the need to fix problems after the fact by applying best management practices. The program will help land-use decision-makers understand the nature of the nonpoint source pollution problem and its impact on their lives, towns and natural resource base. This enables them to plan for growth and development while addressing water quality issues through educated land use decisions.

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.

Pick a better snack™ (formerly Chefs for Kids)

This evidence-based campaign focuses on building fruit and vegetable consumption in children through healthy snacking. Pick a better snack™ is a monthly, in-school nutrition education program for primary grade children in at-risk elementary schools in Clark and Washoe counties in Nevada. In addition to direct instruction, staff works with school wellness coordinators to build meaningful and sustainable programming to create a well environment in every school.

Small Steps 4 Big Changes

Parent involvement is recognized as a key factor in making wise food selections and shaping food and health behavior attitudes that affect the child’s habits and food preferences. Conducted in partnership with the 4-H Youth Development Program, a series of ten nutrition lessons incorporate recipe preparation, food sampling and physical activity segments, with additional nutrition education content for the parent or adult caregiver. All lesson segments are focused on thriving within a limited budget, as well as increasing fruit and vegetable intake. This program has been successfully offered to five Reno Housing Authority (RHA) and other 4-H After School Program sites since the initial launch of the pilot program. The program fosters behavior changes identified by the Centers for Disease Control as being linked to childhood obesity prevention.

Team Nutrition “Smart Choices”

This program strives to address the public health issue of childhood obesity through building basic skills related to food selection and promoting an increased variety of nutritious foods consumed especially vegetables and fruits.

Water Wise

Water Wise is a new, online educational program that complements University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s local watershed protection, storm water protection and land-use decision-maker education projects (NEMO-Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials).

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training

The Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training Program is held several times a year, usually in late winter or spring. This eight-hour, two-day introductory-level training introduces participants to the principles of Integrated Weed Management and focuses on improving ability to identify noxious weeds of local importance. A small fee is charged for program materials, and the class can be videoconferenced to other locations upon request. Each year, several dozen people go through the training and become certified Weed Warriors. Pesticide applicators receive six Continuing Education Credits for attending this course. Each year in May during a community event in the Truckee Meadows, Weed Warrior volunteers help rid parks and riverfront areas of invasive thistles.

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
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
Risk Management
Stronger Economies Together
Unmanned Aerial Systems
Weed Prevention and Management