Editor's Note: This "Tip of the Week" has been brought to you by the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association (DCHA).
Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) comes naturally to Woody Larson of Family Tree Enterprises, LLLP, the 2013 national Dairy Beef Quality Assurance award winner from Okeechobee, Fla. On their dairy and beef operation, they continually train their people on their veterinarian-recommended herd health protocols and procedures which emphasize hygiene and cow comfort. "BQA is about food safety and making sure we have quality products of milk and beef," says Woody.
Training employees is key for Family Tree, and their veterinarian and Woody have been the main educators. Occasionally, they invite outside experts for onsite sessions. Woody also encourages herdsmen to attend specialized workshops, such the beef checkoff-funded Florida Beef Council-sponsored Dairy BQA training for Spanish-speaking employees.
Woody has always been interested in animal behavior. He's been a fan of Temple Grandin for years and has applied many of her concepts on the dairy. Improving cattle handling is never ending: train, train, train. He won't tolerate rough treatment or injury to his animals. Innovations to the business include installing used rubber belting on the fences and chutes to help prevent bruising and injury, and positioning chutes and gates to avoid tight turns.
"We believe in giving back to our industry and making it better for those who follow," says Woody. "BQA helps us do that on our farms."
Watch Woody talk about BQA in a YouTube video.