by Mark Whitney
U of M Extension
The University of Minnesota Swine Extension team, in partnership with the Minnesota Pork Board, is offering multiple training and certification courses for both Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA+) and Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) throughout the state in 2009.
The PQA+ training sessions certify adults in that program, covering ten on-farm good production practices that affect pork quality, while also discussing the current issues affecting animal welfare and describing the PQA+ site assessment process. The TQA training sessions educate individuals in pig behavior, animal handling and transport, and involve passing an open-book exam for certification.
Both programs are being required by most hog packers, and certification lasts for 3 years. “Participation by pork producers in these quality assurance programs demonstrates to consumers and the public that our pork industry takes food safety and animal welfare very seriously, and that we implement production practices to ensure the highest level of both,” states Dr. Mark Whitney, U of M Swine Extension team leader.
There is no cost to attend any of the sessions, but pre-registration is requested by calling the Minnesota Pork Board office at (800) 537-7675. Future training sites include Mapleton, Marshall, Waseca, Worthington, Mankato, Morris, St. Cloud, Rochester, and Fergus Falls. An updated schedule of quality assurance trainings is maintained at HYPERLINK “http://www.mnpork.com” www.mnpork.com and can also be accessed through the U of M Swine Extension website at HYPERLINK “http://www.extension.umn.edu/swine” www.extension.umn.edu/swine. Additionally, trainings can be set up by contacting Whitney at (507)389-5541 or HYPERLINK “mailto:email@example.com” firstname.lastname@example.org.