Pork quality assurance programs show farmers committed to a safe food supply

Learn who is responsible for making the quality assurance programs possible in Michigan.

The National Pork Board has developed the various quality assurance programs to demonstrate pig farmers’ commitment to providing families with a safe, healthy and wholesome product for their tables. These assurance programs include Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus, Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus and Transport Quality Assurance (TQA).

Beginning in 1989 these are voluntary educational programs that assist pork producers with the management of good production practices. Scientific knowledge and ethical principles were used to develop the standards that make up the assurance programs and depend on industry experts to deliver this information to farmers.

State Trainers are industry experts that work with National Pork Board to coordinate the PQA Plus program for their state. They provide training opportunities and information for the PQA Plus Advisors that deliver the program to farmers. Michigan State University’s (MSU) trainers are Dr. Ron Bates, MSU Swine Extension Specialist and Beth Ferry, MSU Extension Educator.

PQA Plus Advisors are veterinarians, Extension specialists and agriculture educators with knowledge of the swine industry that provide farmers with PQA Plus educational trainings. Advisors also conduct on-farm site assessments as part of the PQA Plus program and promote the food safety and animal well-being components of the PQA Plus program. All advisors go through a selection process, educational training and exam component before becoming a certified adviser.

The PQA Plus program also has an on-farm site assessment component. In order for a site to received sites status a PQA Plus advisor must complete a physical assessment of the farm site and review of various different areas. These areas include; record keeping, facilities maintenance, equipment, animal care and well-being. Following the site assessment the farmer then works with the adviser to create a plan of work for any areas that need improvement. This process must be renewed every three years to keep the certification current. Once the site has completed the site assessment process they are then open to random site verification survey that is completed by a third party. This process helps measure the effectiveness of the PQA Plus program.

Pork farmers are committed to providing the best product possible to families and have embraced the quality assurance programs offered by National Pork Board. They are focused on using responsible production practices that benefit the environment, the animals and their communities and work to create a safe food supply for everyone.

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