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Programs

Agricultural 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

Agricultural Programs

Programs Program Information

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.

Cattlemen’s Update

Cattlemen’s Update is University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s (UNCE) annual educational program offered for beef cattle producers to learn about issues affecting profitability and product quality in the Great Basin region.

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.

Eagles and Agriculture

The seven-year-old Eagles and Agriculture program promotes the benefits agriculture provides wildlife and the community in western Nevada. The program enhances participant knowledge of wildlife habitat and local agriculture.

Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program

The purpose of Nevada’s Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program (FRTEP) is to improve the ability of Native American farmers and ranchers to manage their agricultural enterprises effectively, efficiently and profitably.

Herds and Harvest

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and IR-4 program

This program is to test potential pesticides necessary for producing forages in Nevada and submit requests for federal testing and registration from the IR-4 program, which is a federal cooperative program established in 1963 to help the producers of minor crops obtain clearances for pest control materials on those crops. The purpose of IR-4 is to work with farmers, agriculture scientists and Cooperative Extension personnel to carry out research and petition the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to obtain tolerances for specific pesticide uses needed by minor-crop producers.

People of the Land

Historically, American Indian agricultural producers and natural resource managers have not actively participated in programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — even though tribal leaders have indicated the need to strengthen agriculture on Indian lands. Meanwhile, federal professionals have described the difficulty they have reaching American Indian agriculture producers and natural resource managers on reservations. The situation is sometimes referred to as the "Indian situation." The goal of this program is to train agricultural professionals to better understand Indian culture and make them more effective in helping American Indian producers strengthen sustainable agriculture and natural resource management on the reservations.

Pesticide Safety Education Program

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Pesticide Safety Education Program provides Web-based training for pesticide applicators seeking to apply restricted and general use pesticides safely, properly and according to the law. Pesticide licensure and certification is administered by the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

Processing and Marketing of Local Meat Products: A Feasibility Analysis

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed a feasibility study to find ways to improve financial stability for Nevada livestock producers through processing and niche marketing.

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.

Tef Crop Production

The purpose of this program is to introduce Nevada farmers to and help train them in the cultivation of tef, a small-seeded grain and forage crop that requires less water than alfalfa and can be more profitable. There is a strong market for tef seed, which is made into flour to make an Ethiopian flat bread known as injera, as well as for tef hay as a high-quality horse hay.

Weed Prevention and Management

Integrated weed management is based on economically viable and environmentally friendly weed management tactics that combine judicious use of herbicides with other control tactics, such as mowing, burning, tillage, grazing and revegetation. By taking steps to prevent weed invasion, land owners/managers and other stakeholders can avoid the economic and environmental impacts of noxious and invasive weeds.

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.