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Local Cattle Ranchers Get Certified for Quality Beef Production

Local cattlemen gather to view live bulls and review their genetic data while listening to Brian Wolf, Animal Science Instructor at LCC.

A Susanvillestuff Feature
Melissa Blosser, Assistant Editor

Local cattle ranchers came together at Lassen Community college on Friday February 22nd, to participate in a Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, a national program that provides guidelines for beef cattle production. The afternoon provided ranchers with the opportunity to learn proper management techniques and commitment to quality within every segment of the Beef industry.

Jim Olten demonstrates Shear Force testing for the group.

“BQA certification allows the industry to track and document efforts to keep producers educated about food safety issues such as the use of pharmaceuticals in the beef industry. This is important in the bigger picture, ” said David Lile, Director of Lassen County Cooperative Extention.  “Beef ends up on someone’s plate and we not only want to be able to advertise a positive message, but be able to demonstrate to regulators in USDA and the Food and Drug Administration, that appropriate practices to ensure food safety and human health are being taught to and adopted by producers.”

Typically Cattlemen will get certified every three years and the program assists them with charting their own direction, including best practices around good record

keeping and protecting herd health, which can result in more profits for beef producers.David Lile,organized the event through UC Davis bringing two speakers to certify the group John Maas, DVM, Ph.D. and Veterinarian,and Jim Olten, Ph.D, Animal Science, UC Davis.

Brian Wolf, Local Animal Science Instructor at Lassen Community College also provided a group of Bulls for the group to observe and critique and review genetic data or Expected progeny differences (EPDs.) EPDs provide estimates of the genetic value of an animal as a parent. Specifically, differences in EPDs between two individuals of the same breed predict differences in performance between their future offspring when each is mated to animals of the same average genetic merit.

” We’d like folks to think of BQA as important part of the entire ranching operation,” said Lile.  “Now days it starts with genetic selection and use of the sire selection tools we have, primarily EPD’s but also a growing number of DNA markers that indicate genetic potential not only for production like weaning weight and calving ease, but also quality attribute likes marbling and tenderness.”

John Mass, spoke to the group about best practices and herd management.

John Maas went lead the group through a presentation of best practice techniques, heard management and standard operating procedures.

Supervisor Jack Hanson also presented Maas with a token of appreciation, a tray imprinted with the Cattlemen’s mural for all of the years Maas has helped the Cattlemen in Lassen County.

Jim Olten lead the group through an example of Shear Force testing a standardized method for measurement of meat tenderness.  This techniques uses a blade, moving at a standard speed to cut through a steak cooked to a standardized temperature usually about 160 degrees.  The amount of force that it takes for the blade to cut through the cooked steak is the ‘shear force,’ and is supposed to emulate the amount of force it would take an individual to chew.

The procedure is conducted using an computerized machine in which the speed of cutting is programmable and data reads out on computer software.

“You always come away learning something after being certified again, ” said local rancher Dennis Wood. “You have to keep educating yourself on all the changes in the business.”


Bulls were brought in from BMW cattle.


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