Quality Assurance programs are a great way to ensure our youth producers are creating a product we can be proud to consume. In the past, we have used the Pork Quality Assurance Program (PQA), but that program is phasing out at the end of 2017. It is being replaced by Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA), which addresses quality in many different species. We have been selected as a pilot county for the new YQCA program, so our members can participate for free. 

Please read on to get all of the information on finding the right Quality Assurance Program for you and making sure you have met all of your needs. 

The Requirements:

Certification in a Quality Assuruance Program is a requirement (and it is very good practice) for some opportunities related to our Swine Project. Examples include:

  • selling in the auction,
  • showing at some open shows,
  • and in the future possibly to complete the Swine Project.

The Changes:

A new national quality assurance program, Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA), has been developed for use in the 4-H Program across the nation. This program will provide quality assurance education on all species not just swine, such as the Pork Quality Assurance Program does. The PQA program will be phasing out after the conclusion of this year and the new YQCA will replace the current PQA program. Several of the national shows are already utilizing this program (such as World Pork Expo).

Great News! We have been selected as one of the pilot counties! With funds from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the Indiana 4-H Foundation, Indiana 4-H Youth Development is conducting a pilot of this program, which gives us the opportunity to complete the program for free before it is possibly implemented as mandatory next year. 

The Youth for the Quality Care of Animals Program is an online program, and for this pilot testing, we will be implementing this program entirely online. As a pilot county, we have received “coupon codes” to complete this program for free. For swine exhibitors, this will meet the requirements of your quality assurance certification and we highly encourage you to complete this program so you can get used to it while in the pilot phase. You will also be asked to provide your feedback on the program to help as they establish policies for next year, which could impact all livestock species.

The Recommended Action:

Since PQA is phasing out at the end of the year, I recommend all of our exhibitors consider completing the YQCA program online while we are a pilot county and can do so for free. You simply need to contact the office to receive your individual coupon code for use at http://yqca.org/, where you will use your 4HOnline account information to complete the program.

Please note: Currently, if you have a valid PQA Certification, it will be honored until it expires; however, if you want to take advantage of the opportunity to take YQCA for free, I recommend you do so. 

Other Options:

If you do not wish to complete YQCA this year, you may complete PQA two ways:

  • Complete it online. For those needing PQA certification you will need to go online to the National Pork Board to do the online certification. Click Step by Step Instructions for a document helping you with the procedure of registering an account, etc. If you have been certified in the past, you will need your PQA certification number before registering. You can call the 800# to request it.
  • Attend the PQA Class I will be presenting on June 12 at 5:30 pm at the Extension Office. You MUST RSVP by June 7 to attend.

Please let us know if you have any questions.