October 17, 2017
Youth for the Quality Care of Animals Program Information
Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) is a new, national, multi-species livestock quality assurance program available for youth, ages 8-21. This annual educational and certification program focuses on food safety, animal well-being, and character awareness for youth producing and/or showing livestock. The species targeted in the training includes swine, beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, goats, market rabbits, and poultry.
Extension specialists and animal industry representatives were involved in designing the program with the intent to provide a national, standardized livestock quality assurance applicable to multiple species. The curriculum is designed to provide different modules annually, so youth will expand their knowledge by covering new topics every year.
There are two options by which a youth may obtain their YQCA certification; they may attend a 1-hour face-to-face training with a certified instructor, or they may complete the age-appropriate online certification course. There is a $3/child fee for the face-to-face training, while the online certification course is $12/child. The YQCA program has been integrated into the 4HOnline system, so families may register for a face-to-face training, or complete the online certification, by logging in using their 4HOnline credentials.
Kansas 4-H has an agreement with YQCA, which allows Extension agents the opportunity to become certified trainers and provide face-to-face training for Kansas youth. This does not imply that Kansas 4-H members are required to complete the training to participate in a livestock project. However, YQCA could be a valuable option for counties and/or fair boards who currently have a requirement or wish to implement a youth livestock quality assurance educational program.
Extension Agents who are certified trainers for Youth PQA Plus may have received an email the week of October 9, 2017, inviting them to complete the YQCA trainer certification. After December 31, 2017, the Youth PQA Plus program will no longer be available, so YQCA will be the replacement option for those needing youth livestock quality assurance certification. With the discontinuation of the Youth PQA Plus program at the end of 2017, the YQCA staff is offering trainers with a current certification the opportunity to become certified to teach in-person YQCA classes. If you are currently using a livestock quality assurance program in your county or district, this will allow a smooth transition to the new program. The trainer certification process is free for Kansas agents. Both the National Pork Board and University of Nebraska quality assurance programs are discontinuing their current youth program in support of YQCA. The Pork Board, in addition to other species groups, shows, and Extension specialists, were instrumental to the development of the YQCA program.
For more information about the program, please visit www.yqca.org, or contact the Youth Livestock Coordinator, Lexie Hayes, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-532-1264. If you are interested in becoming certified to teach in-person sessions, please also contact Lexie.