The National Pork Board has announced the transition of the Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus (YPQA) to the new Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA).
Within the past few years, educators and livestock industry professionals have noticed NPB’s success with the YPQA program and determined the need for a multi-specie (beef, dairy, goat, poultry, rabbit, sheep and swine), science-based educational program, offering access to every youth exhibitor ages 8 to 21, nationally. Annually, youth food animal producers raise thousands of food animals that contribute to the U.S. food supply. This contribution measures in the millions of pounds of consumable food animal products. Understanding how to produce a safe wholesome food animal product can only come from a comprehensive educational program focused on proper care and welfare of food animals. So a group of educators and livestock industry professionals have been working on developing this program to meet the needs for a multi-species program.
YQCA will provide a common framework for youth food animal quality assurance programs that will enhance the educational experience of youth, improve the care of food animals and provide a higher level of food safety to consumers. This program will embrace the founding principles of food safety that all quality assurance programs cover, with added information addressing animal welfare, such as daily health observations, proper use of medications, and establishing a valid Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR), to mention a few. Those principal topic areas are similar across the species covered in the YQCA curriculum.
The YQCA program is set up for any youth in the U.S. to have access to the online program and gain their certification. States can choose to implement YQCA on a statewide basis where additional requirements can be added and where an in-person training option can be offered. The national YQCA program will launch in March 2017. Statewide implementations also may launch in March or at the time of the state’s choosing. The first show to require YQCA certification will be World Pork Expo in June 2017. Livestock shows held on or after June 2017 can make completion of the YQCA program mandatory for their exhibitors.
The Goals of YQCA are to:
- Ensure safety and well-being of animals produced by youth for showing and for 4-H and FFA projects.
- Ensure safe food supply to consumers.
- Enhance the future of livestock industry by educating youth on these very important issues so they can become more informed producers, consumers and/or employees in the agriculture and food industry.
- Maximize the limited development time and budgets of state and national youth program leaders to provide an effective quality assurance program.
- Offer livestock shows a valid, national quality assurance certification for youth livestock exhibitors.
Attached you will find background information and how this program was established, as well as who was a part of the development, financial support by the commodity groups, state programs, cost breakdown and the curriculum map.
Please note, YPQA will no longer be administering by the end of 2017. The National Pork Board will fully be utilizing the YQCA program as the youth quality assurance program. Those who are not expired are still certified and will not need to earn YQCA certification until their expiration.
For those interested in becoming certified to train youth in face-to-face certifications for YQCA, there will be an online advisor certification similar to how the Youth PQA Plus Advisor certification program runs. To become a YQCA advisor, individuals will have to meet the following requirements, which are the current Youth PQA Plus Advisor requirements: must be a veterinarian, extension personnel, or a secondary/post-secondary agriculture instructor.
All of the Youth PQA good production practices are within the YQCA content, just identified in a different way.