New Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator connects research and industry

Libby Bigler, College of Agricultural Sciences, Colorado State University
Libby Bigler

At a time when food safety and quality issues continue to make national and international headlines, Colorado State University is solidifying its partnership with the beef industry by hiring a full-time Colorado beef quality assurance coordinator. Libby Bigler, a 2011 CSU graduate with degrees in animal science and journalism and technical communication, began her position as coordinator on September 1.

“As coordinator, I play a critical role in assisting beef producers throughout the state in building consumer confidence in Colorado beef through training and certification,” said Bigler.

Helping producers demonstrate beef is safe

The Beef Quality Assurance program allows beef producers to feel confident in opening their doors to the public and to consumers because BQA certification gives them the tools to raise their cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions. It gives producers an opportunity to show the public that they have taken steps to not only keep their livestock comfortable and healthy, but also to ensure that they are consistently producing a safe, wholesome and high quality beef product that consumers can have confidence in.

The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Livestock Association, Colorado Beef Council, Colorado State University Extension, Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado Veterinary Medical Association are all important players in the mission of Colorado’s Beef Quality Assurance program. These stakeholders represent a large majority of the state’s beef cattle producers and are extremely influential in the industry. The Colorado BQA utilizes the expertise of these organizations and their representatives to chart a course for developing and implementing a comprehensive Beef Quality Assurance program to meet specific needs of cattle producers in Colorado.

Funded through partnership

The Colorado BQA program coordinator position has been jointly funded by Colorado beef producers through the $1-per-head beef checkoff via the Colorado Beef Council and the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University for over a decade.

“It is important that we have someone coordinating the Colorado BQA program on a full-time basis to assist Colorado’s beef producers in taking proactive approach to building and/or growing demand for their product,” said Kevin Pond, head of the Department of Animal Sciences.

Back at her academic home

A Colorado native, Bigler participated on the Northwest College Livestock Judging Team before coming to CSU and was a member of CSU’s Livestock Judging Team and served as president of CSU Block and Bridle. She also worked for the American Brahman Breeder’s Association in Houston, Texas as the director of communications and youth activities and as manager of member and affiliate services with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.