The South Dakota BQA Program: What’s New & How to Certify Back »

New South Dakota BQA Coordinator

The South Dakota BQA Coordinator position was formerly held within the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) office. In 2018, SDSU Extension was asked by the South Dakota BQA Steering Committee to manage the South Dakota BQA Program. Heidi Carroll, SDSU Extension Livestock Stewardship Field Specialist & Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator, will be the new South Dakota BQA Coordinator. Her office is in Brookings in the SDSU Animal Science building.

As the South Dakota BQA Coordinator, Heidi will:

  • Manage implementation and assist producers with the national Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) and BQA Transportation (BQAT) Certifications in South Dakota.
  • Assist producers to qualify for listing on the national Feedyard Assessment Database (feedyardassessment.org) and conduct BQA Feedyard Assessments.
  • Assist dairy producers participating in the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program and conduct FARM Animal Care Evaluations.
  • Assist producers with finding available trainings for employees to comply with training requirements for FARM or BQA Feedyard Assessments.

Changes to the South Dakota BQA Certification Process

Previously, the South Dakota BQA/CMP Program had two levels. Level 1 was the educational portion where producers attended a seminar covering the BQA principles and best management practices, and completed a quiz. Level 2 consisted of a producer completing a Critical Management Plan, or Site Plan, with his or her veterinarian. Upon successful completion, producers received a South Dakota BQA certificate/card with their certification number issued from the South Dakota BQA Coordinator/SDBIC.

Changes to the South Dakota BQA Program will take effect this year (March 1, 2018) as program management transitions to SDSU Extension to more efficiently provide service to South Dakota producers. Changes include:

  • The Level 2 Critical Management Plan is NO LONGER required for South Dakota BQA certification.
  • Feedyards may choose to complete a BQA Feedyard Assessment as one step to become eligible for listing on the national Feedyard Assessment Database.
  • Producer BQA certification can be done online or in-person. Limited in-person BQA certification courses will be offered in South Dakota.
  • Re-certification requires a producer to take either an online or in-person BQA course. There are no longer renewal forms for completing the re-certification process.
  • All BQA certifications will be issued by the National Beef Quality Assurance program. No separate South Dakota certificates or numbers will be issued.
  • A South Dakota BQA Trainer program will be implemented. Veterinarians practicing in South Dakota and SDSU Extension Professionals on the Beef and Dairy Teams are eligible to become South Dakota BQA Trainers.
  • The BQA Transportation (BQAT) certification is available online. Limited in-person BQAT certification courses will be offered in South Dakota.
  • According to the National BQA and National Dairy FARM programs, dairies participating in FARM are “BQA Equivalent”. However, no National BQA certification number will be assigned to the dairy’s herdsman, manager, or owner without directly contacting the South Dakota BQA Coordinator and providing a copy of the current FARM Animal Care Evaluation Report. Only one person per dairy will receive a BQA certification. Other employees are encouraged to complete one of the other BQA or DACQA training options available.

How do I get certified?

Online
Online certification courses are available from the National Beef Quality Assurance program at bqa.org; click on the Certification tab. All online certifications are FREE and can be accessed 24/7. Online course options include:

  • BQA Cow-Calf (offered in English and Spanish)
  • BQA Stocker (offered in English and Spanish)
  • BQA Feedyard (offered in English and Spanish)
  • BQA Transportation (Farmer/Rancher & Professional Driver versions, offered in English)
  • Dairy Animal Care & Quality Assurance (DACQA; 3 course options, offered in English)

If you have any problems with the online courses, Customer Service can be reached at 303.850.3473 or by email. Individuals can choose any of the three BQA courses to receive BQA certification. If an individual takes multiple courses, a different BQA number for each course will be awarded; either BQA number or certificate is valid proof of BQA certification. Individuals that complete both BQAT courses will also receive two separate certification numbers. Cattle haulers transporting cattle directly to processing plants are encouraged to complete the Professional Driver version of BQAT, because currently only Professional Driver certifications will receive a plastic certification card and dashboard reference packet in the mail from National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

In-Person
Certification courses for BQA and BQAT will be offered in South Dakota on a limited basis, since producers can certify online for free. No in-person trainings are available for DACQA certification. Individuals desiring to become certified in-person will be charged a certification fee. Rates are as follows:

  • BQA Producer Certification/Re-certification - $50 per individual; 3-5 individuals from an operation (off-site training): $125; 6 or more individuals from an operation (off-site training): $250; NOTE: requested trainings at ranches/farms or special events should guarantee at least 10 people or a minimum fee for the visit will be $450 to cover the trip.
  • BQAT Certification/Re-certification - $50 per individual; 3-5 individuals from an operation/company (off-site training): $125; 6 or more individuals from an operation/company (off-site training): $250; NOTE: requested trainings at ranch/farm/company site or special events should guarantee at least 10 people or a minimum fee for the visit will be $450 to cover the trip.
  • BQA Trainer (Veterinarian/SDSU Extension) Certification/Re-certification - $25. NOTE: All South Dakota BQA Trainers must be certified by the South Dakota BQA Coordinator every 3 years, there is not an online option. South Dakota BQA Trainers will only be able to conduct BQA certification trainings and assist with BQA Feedyard Assessments; they are not eligible to conduct BQAT certifications.
  • BQA Feedyard Assessment (conducted by SDSU Extension) - $150 per site. NOTE: Feedyard assessments can be self-assessed once every 3 years at no cost by feedyard staff to be listed on the national Feedyard Assessment Database.
  • FARM Animal Care Evaluation (conducted by SDSU Extension) - $150 per site. NOTE: FARM Evaluations must be conducted once every 3 years by a Certified FARM Animal Care Evaluator, not a South Dakota BQA Trainer. These are separate qualifications.

Cattlemen or companies wanting to host an in-person certification course are encouraged to organize a group of producers together and work with the State BQA Coordinator or BQA Trainer on planning a date and location. Future in-person certification trainings hosted by SDSU Extension will be advertised via iGrow.org, so periodically check the event calendar.

How long is each certification valid?

  • A BQA certification is good for 3 years.
  • A BQAT certification is good for 3 years.
  • A DACQA certification is good for 3 years.
  • A South Dakota BQA Trainer certification is good for 3 years.
  • Feedyards that meet the qualifications to be listed on the national Feedyard Assessment Database need to conduct assessments every 3 years and submit a copy of their completed assessment and South Dakota BQA Feedyard Assessment Release Form to the South Dakota BQA Coordinator. The BQA Feedyard Assessment is not a specific certification.
  • Dairies participating in the FARM program complete a FARM Animal Care Evaluation every 3 years and agree to participate in the FARM 3rd-party random sampling protocol and verification.

Who do I contact?

Contact Heidi Carroll, South Dakota BQA Coordinator, with questions on any of the quality assurance programs, to check your individual certification status, or to renew your certification. Producers interested in completing a BQA Feedyard Assessment or FARM Animal Care Evaluation can also contact Heidi directly to schedule a site visit.

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