The Pork Checkoff on April 15 updated its Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus program, to include an online certification option that includes testing and training to accompany the in-person process.
The new online option allows participants to learn about food safety and animal health and well-being in an interactive setting. For youth age 12 and under, there is a parent log-in for security.
Youth PQA Plus is one part of the pork industry's We Care initiative.
"Consumers are paying more and more attention to how animals are raised and cared for. As such, we must prepare all producers - newcomers and veterans - to assure they're aware of the best on-farm practices available," said Jodi Sterle, Iowa State University professor and advisor to the Pork Checkoff's YPQA Plus curriculum. "I think it is extremely important for youth swine exhibitors to understand they are part of something bigger; they are part of the overall swine industry, producing food to feed the world."
Sterle said the Youth PQA Plus helps make today's young farmers more aware of their personal responsibility.
Austin Langemeier, a third-generation livestock producer from Texas, has shown livestock where Youth PQA Plus certification is required. To Austin, the benefits of certification continue to grow.
"Youth PQA Plus is a unique experience and allows me to better understand my purpose in raising swine with a focus on the big picture. I understand the true endpoint and meaning of market animals - feeding the world - creating the protein necessary in any person's diet," Langemeier said. "Youth PQA Plus really hit home for me. My show pig is not an animal for my personal enjoyment, but serves a larger purpose."
More information on the revised Youth PQA Plus program is available at www.pork.org/certification.
Source: Pork Checkoff