Beef Quality Assurance Certification 

white beef cow face

The national BQA Program was initiated in 1987 to provide cattle farmers and ranchers with science based management practices that enhance carcass quality and beef safety and improve animal care.BQA works to protect consumer confidence in our beef supply and to return more profits to producers. Participation in the program is voluntary. BQA principals influence the management practices of more than 90 percent of cattle. 

Who should become certified? 

All individuals who have the opportunity to influence the quality and handling of cattle, including owners, farm workers, junior producers (14 and older), animal science students and allied industry partners. 

Upcoming Trainings 

The NY BQA program includes in-person classroom and hands-on chute-side trainings. These trainings are an opportunity for beef and dairy producers of all experience levels to learn from local industry professionals and document their commitment to animal handling and beef safety. 

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National BQA Resources

The efforts of BQA across the nation have been instrumental in recent successes that continue to re-build and sustain beef demand. On the national level research is being conducted and new resources are being developed to track continual quality standards and continue improvements. 

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How it works 

The Beef Quality Assurance program in New York State has grown into a robust educational opportunity for beef and dairy farmers throughout the state and works to improve the quality of beef produced by connecting producers with the newest research and animal care techniques. The BQA Program currently has over 1000 active beef producers, employees, and students. The program has two levels of certification. 

Level I Requirements:

Attend a classroom training or self-study and complete the BQA test.
• Attend a chute-side training.
• Sign the BQA contract. 

Level II Requirements:

• Level I requirements plus

• Establish a Veterinary/Client/Patient Relationship (VCPR).

VCPR Form can be downloaded here. If your veterinarian office has their own form they would prefer to use that will also be accepted. 

Certification is valid for 3 years.

In-person classroom sessions and chute-side trainings are hosted in partnership with local extension educators and veterinarians. If you are interested in becoming BQA certified and have not seen a training offered in your area please contact Katherine at to request/assist in setting an opportunity up. 

The completion of the comprehensive on-line BQA training can replace the classroom requirement for certification in the NY BQA program. All other NY requirements listed above must also be met to receive certification in New York State. For more information about the National BQA On-line Training visit

vet and farmer

Establishing a Valid Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR)

If you have a good relationship with your veterinarian, he or she will be able to help, advise, and guide you to use appropriate medications for your animals.

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Re-certification is required every three years to maintain an active BQA certification. Here are the 3 steps required to complete BQA Re-certification: 

  • Update your VCPR with your local Vet. The form to be signed by the veterinarian is included with this mailing. A VCPR form provided by your vet clinic will also be accepted.

  • Review and sign the BQA Contract which is included in this mailing.

  • Complete one of the following options for Continuing Education credit:

    • Individual consultation with your vet covering antibiotic use, drug residues, injections, herd health plan, or other topic at discretion of DVM. DVM must fill out information on bottom of the VCPR form and sign. (NYSCHAP participants: Yearly review with state and local vets is acceptable.) 

    • Attend an educational meeting (45 minutes or more) on a topic related to Animal Health. Fill out the required information about the meeting on the bottom of the BQA Contract. (Attending another BQA training qualifies.

The BQA Re-certification Form is available for download here

Questions about your certification status or recertifying? Contact Katherine at 315-339-6922 or email

WHy BQA is important 

BQA does more than just help beef producers capture more value from their market cattle: BQA also reflects a positive public image and instills consumer confidence in the beef industry. When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, they assure their market steers, heifers, cows, and bulls are the best they can be. Today, the stakes are even higher because of increased public attention on animal welfare. BQA is valuable to all beef and dairy producers because it:

  • Demonstrates commitment to food safety and quality.
  • Safeguards the public image of the dairy industry.
  • Upholds consumer confidence in valuable beef products.
  • Protects the beef industry from additional and burdensome government regulation.
  • Improves sale value of marketed beef cattle.
  • Enhances herd profitability through better management.

Thank You to our Sponsors 

The Beef Quality Assurance Program in New York State would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors