Written collaboratively by Heidi Carroll and Hilary Risner.

A new quality assurance program was released in March 2017. This year, the National Pork Board transitioned to Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) and will no longer be administering Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus (YPQA) by the end of 2017. The YQCA program will be fully utilized as the youth quality assurance program.

About YQCA

Educators and livestock industry professionals have noticed the success of the YPQA program and determined the need for a multi-specie (beef, dairy, goat, poultry, rabbit, sheep and swine), science-based educational program that offered access to every youth exhibitor ages 8 to 21, nationally. Annually, youth livestock exhibitors raise thousands of food animals that contribute to the U.S. food supply, which translates to millions of pounds of consumable food products. Understanding how to produce a safe wholesome food animal product comes from a comprehensive educational program focused on proper care and welfare of food animals. Thus, a group of educators and livestock industry professionals from around the U.S. have been developing this program to meet the needs for a multi-species program.

YQCA provides a common framework for youth food animal quality assurance programs that will enhance the educational experience of youth, improve the care of food animals, and provide a higher level of food safety to consumers. The program is founded on food safety, animal welfare, and character development covering topics including daily health observations, proper use of medications, establishing a valid Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR), and ethics in the show ring. YQCA is an annual certification that engages youth producers on the good production practices required to raise food producing animals for exhibition or show.

The goals of YQCA:

  1. Ensure safety and well-being of animals produced by youth for showing and for 4-H and FFA projects.
  2. Ensure safe food supply to consumers.
  3. Enhance the future of livestock industry by educating youth on these very important issues so they can become informed producers, consumers, and/or employees in the agriculture and food industry.
  4. Maximize the limited development time and budgets of state and national youth program leaders to provide an effective quality assurance program.
  5. Offer livestock shows a valid, national quality assurance certification for youth livestock exhibitors.

Implementing YQCA in South Dakota

South Dakota 4-H is excited to announce they have partnered with YQCA to provide our youth the YQCA certification program!

  • For the upcoming year (Oct 2017-Sep 2018), SD 4-H will expect all youth (ages 8 to 21) exhibiting swine projects at county and/or the State Fair to complete YQCA certification.
  • For the 2018-19 4-H year, youth ages 8 to 21 exhibiting beef cattle, dairy cattle, dairy goats, meat goats, sheep, swine, poultry, and rabbits at county-level fairs or State Fair will be expected to become YQCA certified.

Instructor led trainings will be offered for youth ages 8 to 18 and young adults ages 19 to 21 are encouraged to utilize the online trainings to achieve YQCA certification. The first available instructor led training will be offered on January 27, 2018 at the Black Hills Stock Show® Youth Day. The YQCA training will be at 3-4:30pm (MT) in the Creative Arts Building on the Central States Fairgrounds (601 E. Centre St., Rapid City, SD).

Registration & Payment
Registration and payment for this training will be done online. Please contact Hilary Risner with any questions regarding this training. Please watch iGrow for more information regarding YQCA details and future instructor led training dates, or contact a county SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor to learn more about YQCA in SD 4-H.

Exhibitor Requirements
For families with youth that exhibit at other state or national livestock shows, please talk with show managers, or check the YQCA Fairs & Shows page to find out if a show accepts YQCA certification to meet exhibitor requirements.

More Information

Youth Standards

Advisor Expectations

Source: SDSU iGrow