man feeding a cow
Jun. 29, 2021

Amos Lawrence, a farmer from Taylor County, deworms a cow during a demonstration at the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Certification Training in Cobbtown, Georgia June 19.

by Russell Boone

More than 63 farmers interested in beginning or improving their beef cattle production recently attended a workshop called, Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Certification Training in Cobbtown, Georgia at the HKJ Ranch.

FVSU Cooperative Extension, AgriUnity, the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association and the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Extension Program personnel collaborated to conduct the training and provide presentations.

During the workshop, attendees learned several techniques about improving the quality of their cattle. This included proper transportation of livestock to market, feeding techniques and administration of medicines.

Handy Kennedy, one of the co-founders of AgriUnity and a presenter at the event, explained the importance of the workshop for minority farmers. “Basically, this will help them produce a better quality of beef,” Kennedy said. Additionally, the farmer and rancher said that it is important to gain knowledge about adding value to beef for producers and consumers.  “When you can create anything of quality, you can ask a premiere price for your product,” Kennedy said.

“Overall, it provided a lot of insight for us to see a live program and take part in it,” said Amos Lawrence, a farmer from Taylor County. Lawrence participated in a hands-on demonstration by using equipment to deworm a cow. The Reynolds, Georgia resident said he and his family plan to start raising cattle in the near future.

Furthermore, Lawrence said the program will help him set up his farm as a business with actual meat production.

Dr. Ralph Noble, dean of FVSU’s College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, also served as a presenter at the workshop. He said FVSU Cooperative Extension’s presence at the event played a key role in providing assistance to potential beef cattle farmers.

“What we’re trying to do from the campus is make a better connection with the community in this case with animal science and market options. We want to help our farmers who own livestock to prosper by getting better prices so they can stay on the farm. Some of them are losing land because they can’t make enough money to keep it,” Noble said.

Additionally, the FVSU administrator said that Georgia has a significant beef cattle industry that can be beneficial for small farmers with proper guidelines or by joining groups such as the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association. “We’re trying to work together as a group in order to market cattle as a cooperative or an alliance. The Beef Quality Assurance [training] is a way for farmers to get certified so there can be an agreement on a standard to raise cattle,” Noble said.

Kennedy said that more workshops focused on improving beef cattle quality and production are planned for the future. He was also very pleased to collaborate with FVSU’s and UGA’s Extension Programs in conducting the workshop.

For more information about the BQA certification training, contact Kennedy at (770) 375-1655 or e-mail hkjranch@gmail.com

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