Date of this Version
Over 3,500 youth in Nebraska were trained and certified in Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) in 1999. Quality assurance training had an impact on the youths’ opinions about quality assurance and consumers and on the youths’ knowledge of quality assurance practices. Emphasis on character development and decision-making skills translated into positive responses about the responsibilities of a livestock producer to animals and consumers. While most youth understood at least some of their responsibilities prior to completing the training, the quality assurance training served to reinforce the understanding of those youth and also to help all youth recognize the breadth of the responsibilities that they have as livestock producers. Educating youth about quality assurance will also benefit the livestock industry. The youths’ knowledge of quality assurance practices will strengthen the livestock industry’s standards for producing safe and wholesome food products, both currently and in the future. While the livestock produced by these youth may not represent a large proportion of today’s livestock industry, the youth themselves represent the future of the livestock industry. Only a small proportion may be directly involved in production and use their skills in that manner, but all will be consumers. Food safety has been and will continue to be an issue to consumers. These youth will be consumers and should have a better appreciation and understanding of the measures that livestock producers take to ensure a safe, high quality, and wholesome food supply.