The Barron and St. Croix County UW-Extension offices will offer two Beef Quality Assurance trainings in December. The first will be Wednesday, Dec. 12, at the Barron County Government Center in Barron, and the second will be Tuesday, Dec. 18, at the S. Croix County Ag Service and Education Center in Baldwin.

Both trainings will start with 12:45 p.m. registration, followed by the program from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Some large packers and processors have announced that, effective Jan. 1, they will only purchase from farms that are BQA- or FARM-certified. Most dairy farms are FARM-certified through their milk processor. Ask a dairy plant representative for help to get a copy of the completed FARM evaluation or a letter from them indicating a farm’s completion of FARM 3.0 or beyond.

The Jan. 1 BQA requirement impacts those selling finished beef breeds of cattle and will be in effect for all markets and all private treaty transactions. Farmers need to work with their marketing partners, or buyers if selling direct, to ensure correct documentation of BQA or FARM certification.

At this time, it is believed that, beginning in January 2020, additional processors will begin to require BQA or FARM certification from their suppliers.

Beef producers created the voluntary BQA program in 1987 to assist each other in raising, feeding and harvesting high-quality beef. By participating in BQA and adopting BQA production practices, farmers are helping answer the call from packers’ customers for safe beef raised in a humane manner.

Pre-registration is requested. For the Barron location, contact the Barron County UW-Extension Office at 715-537-6250 or becky.schley@ces.uwex.edu. For Baldwin, contact the St. Croix County UW-Extension Office at 715-531-1930 or ryan.sterry@ces.uwex.edu.

This certification is provided in cooperation with UW-Extension and the WI Beef Council and costs $15 per farm. The fee will be collected at the door; make checks payable to the Wisconsin BQA Program.

Free online BQA certification also is available at www.bqa.org. Participants will create an account based on their e-mail address and select the course that best fits their operation. Each interactive course takes about 2 hours to complete and an 80 percent score is required to pass the final test.

For enrollment information about other upcoming trainings, visit the Wisconsin Beef Information Center website at https://fyi.uwex.edu/wbic.