CENTENNIAL, Col o. – The 2011 National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) is nearing completion, with the results scheduled to be released at the cattle industry’s summer conference in July, according to the Beef Checkoff.

The audit has been conducted every five years since 1991 and assesses the progress industry has made toward enhancing beef quality. The audit includes three phases: Phase 1 includes more than 200 in-person interviews with individuals from every segment of beef production and marketing. Phase 2 includes in-plant surveys of eight harvest facilities and roughly 18,000 cattle observations nationally. Phase 3 is a benchmark survey of seedstock, cow/calf, stocker and feedyard segments of the industry.

“The data from this multi-faceted study is extensive, and covers every segment of the beef production chain that takes our product to the consumer,” said John Paterson, executive director of producer education at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a beef checkoff contractor. “We believe the results of this research will help drive change in our industry and allow our producers to take necessary steps to build on our core strengths, as well as identify areas in which we can improve.”

Topics covered in the audit include beef tenderness and taste, food safety, beef quality, production practices, purchasing considerations, animal welfare, and channel communications and transparency. Institutions assisting with the research included Texas A&M Univ., Colorado State Univ., Oklahoma State Univ., Texas Tech Univ., Pennsylvania State Univ., West Texas A&M Univ., Cal Poly State Univ., USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service and USDA-Meat Animal Research Center.

“We have a wealth of information that will be helpful to beef producers as they determine key quality factors to focus on in their own operations,” Paterson said. “At the same time, this information is important to our industry as we assess our progress and determine gaps in knowledge, communications and performance that keep us from being as effective and efficient as we can be.”