Cargill employees were recently a part of the first trucking fleet to complete the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA’s) Beef Cattle Transportation Education online training, which is housed and provided by the Beef Cattle Institute (BCI) at Kansas State University.
The training modules, made possible by Beef Checkoff funds, were developed by faculty members, cattle haulers and regulatory officials across the United States as part of the Master Transporter video series. These modules provide animal transporters education on how to handle cattle during loading and unloading, proper loading of trailers, how to inspect trailers for safety for the animals and drivers, how to haul cattle in bad weather conditions and many more practical, relevant issues. This program is now being offered online in hopes that other beef cattle transporters will have easy access to quality video training 24 hours a day.
According to Mike Siemens, leader in animal welfare and husbandry for Cargill, the online training is a valuable part of the industry’s efforts toward achieving continual improvement.
“Many livestock transporters have been hauling cattle for many years, if not decades, and do an excellent job of making sure that the livestock are properly handled and cared for,” he said. “I also believe that you can always learn something new every day when working with livestock, and additional training can help us achieve a greater understanding about the livestock we are hauling, continue to improve our abilities and make us more aware of the needs of the animals.”
To become certified, employees completed a set of five online training modules through Animal Care Training (www.animalcaretraining.org), a training website by the BCI that hosts online training for NCBA and many other agriculture and veterinary professionals. The beef cattle education transportation modules offer training in areas of biosecurity, animal handling, loading and unloading, in addition to weather and truck and trailer maintenance.
The Animal Care Training program was developed to educate English and Spanish-speaking beef and dairy producers, animal transporters, livestock auction market employees and bovine veterinarians. Web-based audiovisual training modules in English and Spanish feature topics such as animal husbandry, animal welfare, environmental stewardship and food safety practices.
The site is currently home to more than 200 online training modules for beef producers and 400 continuing education modules for veterinarians. The program is the result of collaborations with the BCI, NCBA, Association of Bovine Practitioners and Livestock Marketing Association.
Chase DeCoite, manager of Beef Quality Assurance, commented on Cargill’s recent completion of the online training.
“This is Cargill’s most recent action to prove its commitment to producing wholesome, nutritious and safe beef that consumers can trust was raised in a responsible manner from the farm gate to the plate,” he said.
Dan Thomson, director of the BCI, credited the success of the educational trainings to the time and effort of several groups.
“The College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University has worked hard with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to provide producers, veterinarians and now animal transporters online education opportunities that are relevant and accessible,” he said. “Thousands of animals are transported on the U.S. highways daily. This is another tool to help people that work on a daily basis to put food on the table for all.”