Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus is a program developed by the National Pork Board that focuses on food safety and animal well-being. This animal health and care stewardship program for producers and farm employees concentrates on 10 good production practices (GPPs) that should be implemented on all swine farms Updated in June of 2013 this program’s roots are the original PQA Plus Level III program and the SWAP (Swine Welfare Assurance Program) which have been merged into the current PQA Plus program.
An educational component combined with an on-farm site assessment make up the PQA Plus program. First producers/employees/caretakers complete an educational course taught by an advisor to gain PQA + certification. Next they have the opportunity to follow up with an on-farm educational assessment that evaluates the care and well-being of the animals and ensures the farm managers and animal caretakers are following the 10 GPPs of the PQA + program. The PQA + site assessment focuses on evaluating the care given to the animals, facilities provided for the animals and helps operations benchmark their performance. Program advisors and trained producers conduct the on-farm assessment, reviewing and benchmarking the activities that take place on the farm.
New with the release of the 2013 addition of the PQA Plus program is the opportunity for producers to re-certify online for the educational or “classroom” portion of PQA Plus. If producers have a current PQA Plus certification, they may request access to the online system by contacting their local PQA Plus advisor. It is important to note that once an individual’s PQA Plus certification has expired they are no longer eligible for renewal via the online system and will be required to complete a face-to-face session with an advisor.
Producers seeking PQA Plus certification for the first time, renewal or site assessment verification can contact a member of the pork team with Michigan State University Extension. Face-to-Face sessions have been scheduled and are listed on the MSU Extension pork page.