The bell rang and class was in session at Texas Tech University where over 20 students recently participated in the first-ever Beef 706 designed entirely for Texas youth. The checkoff-funded class provided an overview of the beef industry and a hands-on learning experience on beef quality.  For 20 years the program has been educating producers about the factors impacting the safety and quality of beef.
           
"Students attending Beef 706 have traditionally been more experienced and often times older cattle producers," said Jason Bagley, beef quality manager, Texas Beef Council (TBC). "While TBC continues to believe in educating cattle producers both young and old, we recognize the need to reach out to a younger generation to begin educating them about Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) and its important role in beef cattle production."
             
Beef 706 is a checkoff-funded BQA program presented in cooperation with Texas AgriLife Extension.  The class continuously evolves with the industry and provides producers vital information to ensure that a safe, consistent, quality product is delivered to consumers. 
           
"In this unique two-day class students learn everything from quality and yield grading, to hands-on carcass fabrication," Bagley said. "Within the Texas show cattle industry alone, there are thousands of youth making day-to-day management decisions about their cattle that directly impact the quality and wholesomeness of beef. We want Texas youth to view cattle as not just livestock, but as a food product."
           
All BQA efforts, including Beef 706, are based on the current National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA). This audit, funded in part by the Beef Checkoff Program, takes place every five years and serves as a benchmark for the cattle industry. The 2005 NBQA is currently being used to identify quality challenges and establish new targets for quality levels.
           
Beef 706 is held several times a year at universities across Texas. There are currently four Beef 706 classes scheduled for July 28 29 and July 30-31 at West Texas A&M University in Canyon and Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 13-14 at Texas A&M University in College Station. For more information on Texas beef quality programs and checkoff information, please call (800) 846-4113 or visit www.texasbeef.org or www.texasbeefquaily.com.