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BQA

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Traveler

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Yeah........make it mandatory and then bring in beef, esp. from points south of our boarder, so it can be passed off as BQA certified through omission.
 

Faster horses

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March 5, 2016. This Australian rancher calls it a "scheme" in the comments. He makes some good points.

"As an Australian beef producer, I am required to be a mandatory participant in a national scheme called Livestock Production Assurance or LPA in order to be able to sell any beef cattle. This involves a range of auditable practices regarding animal welfare, risk management, transport, record keeping and traceability of specific animal identification and safety history of animal treatments for parasite control, health treatments and vaccinations, travel,purchaser/s and location history for each individual animal. Our national producer representative bodies and the national marketing and research authority, Meat and Livestock Australia, MLA,developed, promoted and with government support legislated to have this system applied to all animal industries in our country. Beef, lamb, pork poultry, equines and camelids must be identified and managed according to the LPA requirements. This was promoted as a necessity to enable biosecurity traceability in the event of FMD , BSF which are not currently in our country. It is also touted as method of managing infrequent outbreaks of high impact or quarantinable animal diseases which are endemic to our country such as Bovine Johnes Disease. The complete costs of this scheme are born by producers and were promoted as providing a marketing edge for Australian sourced beef when the BSF outbreaks had impacted on our international competitors. It is used by a whole range of business interests from processors to international traders as a marketing tool where they are able to take a free ride on the back of the costs born by the producers. I feel that there has been no positive impact on improved prices for producers over time and of course the costs of RF tags, documentation etc have steadily escalated over time. This system has some benefits but I believe that they are not at the level that the promoters of the system advocated. BQA as it is being unrolled in your country, promotes benefits of a similar nature and is advocated as a way of underpinning national standards of producer practices and staying ahead of the diverse demands of multiple interest groups. Our experience is that our LPA has not stemmed the ongoing demands and growth of other Assurance type schemes, Organic accreditation, Grassfed Certification schemes, HGP free, Sustainability based certification schemes, Animal welfare approved and certified schemes are all continuing to grow and be utilised by sellers and marketers of meat and meat products to establish and promote often spurious points of difference. One major supermarket chain uses a HGP free marketing angle while their major competitor promotes their product as being MSA Graded. MSA is a quality appraisal system which is based upon evaluating carcases on a range of indicators which research identified as parameters of consistent eating quality. The grading system basically operates like a 1 to 5 standard with 5 being the best quality standard. The supermarket however doesn't indicate the actual grading score for it's product. What difference occurs between the eating experience of ground beef of score 1 compared to ground beef of score 5 escapes me but it must be important to consumers because the supermarkets tell us so. MSA also skews the gradings based upon breed influences such as percentage Brahman content , dentition and but size and definition which is measured on an A to E scale. It is amazing how many animals score C and D which precludes them from high MSA grading scores. One major supermarket chain is quite happy to sell meat from these but scores if they are HGP free while it's competitor supposedly won't. If it made a difference to eating quality then one would expect that there would be a consumer discernable difference and market influences on price paid to the producer. Producers selling to these supply chains generally get the same money from both within what one would see as normal commercial variance factors. If you expect that a universal Assurance system will reduce the demands for individual interest groups to apply their own certification or commercially oriented production assurance systems them our experience would indicate that to be a wishful dream. Each scheme is crafted to emhasise a point of difference of benefit to the promoters of that scheme and to reinforce a marketing perception rather than to have any significant benefit for the animals or producers involved. Our countries have animal welfare and food safety legislation and industry and environmental practices of very high standards yet we are being hounded continuously to comply with more expectations or requirements being placed on producers as increased real costs of production that are unable to be passed upon the supply chain. Consumers don't want to pay for the costs of these schemes yet they believe that they have a right to demand them. Beef producers need to be very wary of the claims made regarding the benefits of these schemes and it is especially galling when so called industry representative organisations are very willing to promote them and send the message that great advantages will come from embracing them when they don't have to wear any of the cost of their good ideas. The comment made regarding sections of the industry playing one's interests against the others and fragmenting things is highly relevant to our experiences here in Australia. Self interest is a powerful motivating force for most human beings and when allied with the profit motive of corporate entities it is wise to remind oneself that good ideas have potentially both positive and negative influences. It is very easy to look at the positives but it is often the negatives that are the enduring legacy. Once these things start they tend to stay around for a long time as there is a vested interest in maintaining them as the status quo and adding to them overtime. We embraced LPA but many producers are very disappointed with the outcomes and if you believe other interests and forces won't flourish alongside such a scheme then you will be disappointed."
 

mrj

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It's hard to 'evaluate' the system in his area when we don't know whether the seller of cattle has any alternatives to that particular system. Can he sell to another entity, or is there only one place or way to sell?

Here, there are so many different ways to sell, from taking calves of varying ages and degrees and stages of 'weaning' to the sale barn and asking "what will you give me for them", to truly taking in well weaned, bunk trained calves and documenting all the vaccinations and treatments the calves have had, including veterinary recommendations, feed rations, handling styles, and advertising to as broad an area of buyers as necessary to have competition for the cattle, to contracting with feedlot operator/owners who have a processor lined up for those cattle, or contracting the cattle to others up the line between the ranch and the consumer.

Seems easier to blame someone mysterious 'other' who is taking advantage of our efforts in raising the cattle than learning how to raise and actually find a market them for the best [rice that competitors will bid for them.

mrj
 

Traveler

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mrj said:
It's hard to 'evaluate' the system in his area when we don't know whether the seller of cattle has any alternatives to that particular system. Can he sell to another entity, or is there only one place or way to sell?

He states that it's mandatory in Australia, and they have no other choice, and doesn't feel that there's any financial benefit. This link supports his claims of being required.

https://www.mla.com.au/meat-safety-and-traceability/red-meat-integrity-system/about-the-livestock-production-assurance-program/

As part of the Livestock Production Assurance program, an LPA National Vendor Declaration is required for all livestock movements, including property to property, through saleyards, direct to processors and to feedlots, and to the live export trade.

Here, there are so many different ways to sell, from taking calves of varying ages and degrees and stages of 'weaning' to the sale barn and asking "what will you give me for them", to truly taking in well weaned, bunk trained calves and documenting all the vaccinations and treatments the calves have had, including veterinary recommendations, feed rations, handling styles, and advertising to as broad an area of buyers as necessary to have competition for the cattle, to contracting with feedlot operator/owners who have a processor lined up for those cattle, or contracting the cattle to others up the line between the ranch and the consumer.

But that's the thing, in the article in Beef magazine that VB Ranch linked to, the Colorado State University (CSU) livestock production Extension specialist's opinion, right in the title, states: Why BQA needs to be a mandatory beef industry program.

Atkinson says BQA needs to be a mandatory program. “If our industry would participate in BQA collectively, most of those companies would be happy to accept that for their programs,” she states. “If we don't step up to the plate as an industry, there will be a day when we will be regulated from the top down.”
Atkinson says regulations may be forthcoming from packing houses, which are getting heat from the food service industry. If packers start requiring BQA practices, Atkinson says, it will trickle down to all the other segments of the industry.

Seems easier to blame someone mysterious 'other' who is taking advantage of our efforts in raising the cattle than learning how to raise and actually find a market them for the best [rice that competitors will bid for them.

mrj
 

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