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 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

National Pork Board Rolls Out Youth Pork Quality Assurance Program

Livestock Update, February 2004

Cindy Wood, Animal & Poultry Sciences, VA Tech

The National Pork Board, in consultation with 4-H and other youth educators, has developed a Youth PQA program for certifying youth between the ages of 9 and 19. Beginning in February 2004, youth between the ages of 9 and 19 will no longer be certified through the adult PQA Level III program. Children under the age of 9 may sell pigs under their parent or guardian's PQA Level III certification. Anyone 19 or older must become certified, or recertified, through the adult program. Adults CANNOT become certified by accompanying their child to Youth PQA programs, but are strongly encouraged to attend.

The youth program is designed with different age groups in mind. At the Beginner level (9-11 years of age), children must re-certify annually by attending a Youth PQA education program. Intermediate (ages 12-14) and Senior (up to 19 years of age) participants can certify/re-certify by attending a youth PQA program annually OR can certify by testing at the appropriate skill level for their age bracket. Once certified by test, re-certification is not required until the next age bracket and skill level is reached.

Youth PQA programs must be led by trained educators. Programs will address all 10 Good Production Practices found in the adult Level III program, but to varying degrees. Interactive and/or experiential (hands-on) learning activities are strongly encouraged. Each state will develop its own program to meet its youth programming needs.

With financial help from the Virginia Pork Industry Board, we are in the process of developing educational material for Virginia, and would like to conduct several workshops this spring and summer. If you are interested in setting up a workshop for youth in your area, please get in touch with me (Cindy Wood;; 540-231-6936). Workshops will take a minimum of one hour, but a longer time frame would allow for discussion of other topics that impact youth swine projects as well. If you are interested in a training session to become a Youth PQA educator, please let me know as well.

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