Trade Resources Policy & Opinion Two Youth Quality Assurance Programs Are Available Online

Two Youth Quality Assurance Programs Are Available Online

By Julie Thelen

Youth can learn animal care and quality assurance practices about beef, dairy, horses and swine without leaving their home!

Although the cold temperatures are keeping youth inside, it is the perfect time to encourage young people to learn more about their large animal project!  A variety of curriculum exists, in print as well as online, to teach youth about the project they are raising, and management strategies for maintaining human and animal health.  According to Michigan State University Extension, quality assurance programs promote the industry’s efforts to produce a safe and wholesome food product, with particular attention to the care and well-being of animals raised for human consumption.  Additionally, these programs include best production practices and animal management strategies, which are useful whether or not the animal is entering the food system.

Two youth quality assurance programs are available online; Youth Animal Care Training and Youth Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus.  These programs are geared towards youth raising and exhibiting beef, dairy, horse and swine projects.

The Youth Animal Care Training was created in 2012 by the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University.  These free online educational training modules are for high school aged youth and younger.  Through participation in the training, youth can improve their knowledge of animal handling, animal welfare, antimicrobial residue avoidance and food safety.  Currently, there are four training packages consisting of:

•     Youth Beef Quality Assurance (28 modules)

•     Youth Beef Industry Food Safety (7 modules)

•     Youth Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance (31 modules)

•     Youth Humane Equine Management (10 modules)

Youth register online and are immediately able to work through the multimedia training modules at their own pace.  Each module ranges from five to 20 minutes in length.  Once all the modules within a package are completed and quizzes are passed with 80 percent accuracy or higher, a printable certificate is available.  There is no time limit or deadline to complete the modules and quizzes.  If youth wish to keep their certificate for quality assurance up-to-date, they can re-certify every three years.

Youth PQA Plus was created in 2007 by the National Pork Board.  The educational program is offered online or taught by a certified advisor face-to-face to youth ages eight to 18. Participants in this program will learn how to produce a safe and wholesome food product, with particular attention to the care and well-being of animals raised for pork.

Youth in Michigan have the option to complete their Youth PQA Plus certification training online by accessing an online tutorial hosted by the National Pork Board.  To access the online system, youth need to contact the Pork Checkoff Service Center at 1-800-456-7675.  Representatives at the service center will then register the youth for the online PQA Plus program.  It may take the system up to three days to update the registration; once the registration is completed and the database is updated, an email will be sent to the youth with instructions on how to enter the online system. Once the youth has received access to the system, they will need to complete an online training module.

The system will automatically update the database with the youth’s new expiration date and the youth will be able to print their PQA Plus number and expiration date once the process is completed.  Certified advisors will be able to search the system to find current information for the youth.

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Online Youth Animal Care Training Modules