Quality Animal Management Promotes Wholesome Meat Products

Posted: September 26, 2014

Each year, approximately 1,000 youth in Bedford, Cambria and Somerset counties and over 1,000 livestock producers across the state participate in programs related to quality animal management practices.

Changes implemented by youth and producers as a result of these programs ensure higher quality meat products for the consumer as well as higher values of animals and products sold off the farm and at the county fairs.

Quality Animal Management trainings for youth and Quality Assurance trainings for adults mirror efforts by Penn State Extension to ensure that livestock are raised in a manner that results in safe and wholesome meat products for the consumer. Food wholesomeness and safety is very important to today’s consumer and these programs seek to assure them that meat coming from producers meets high standards.

Both the youth and adult programs focus on issues such as animal health management plans, consulting with a veterinarian for medication decision-making, using antibiotics responsibly, identifying and tracking all treated animals, maintaining medication and treatment records, properly storing medications, educating everyone involved with routine animal care, following proper feed processing procedures, providing proper care to improve animal well-being, and reviewing the quality assurance program annually.

What impact do these programs have on the livestock industry? As Melanie Barkley, Penn State Extension Educator in Bedford County, explains, “Industry research has seen a decrease in injection site blemishes, decreased incidence of drug residues in meat, decreased carcass defects, and improved biosecurity at the farm level.”