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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Assuring Quality Care for Animals

Assuring Quality Care for Animals

This program teaches 4-H youth how to use best practices that support the production of quality and safe animal products for consumers, as well as responsible animal handling, care and welfare in not only farm animal production, but also with companion and performance animals.

Download a copy of Good Production Practices.

Youth Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is a pledge or promise to 1) provide a food animal product preferred by consumers, and 2) provide a safe, wholesome food animal product. Food animals are those whose products (i.e., meat and milk) have the potential to become part of the food chain.

Food safety is paramount to animal agriculture, assuring consumer acceptance and confidence in a market where competing proteins and other alternatives are emerging, rivaling food products of animal origin. Furthermore, issues surrounding animal welfare in agricultural livestock production have surfaced that must be addressed at all levels of food animal production, including youth participation in food animal projects.

Youth involved in food animal exhibitions, by definition, are food animal producers. Youth food animal producers, at the culmination of the project, will sell their animal(s) and food products which are intended for human consumption.

Knowledge and mastery of the science of genetics, nutrition, management, handling, and environment in relation to the youth's food animal projects plays a critical role in the success of producing safe and wholesome food products for consumers. Therefore, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) mandates that all youth exhibiting food animal projects participate annually in quality assurance programming. OSU Extension provides the leadership for implementing quality assurance programs, in partnership with agricultural education and agricultural societies.

Youth who take food animal projects, by participating in science-based experiential learning activities, learn how to ensure that the products from their 4-H food animals are safe for consumers, and that their actions inspire general public and consumer confidence in assuring well-cared-for animals and quality products.

Youth Food Animal Quality Assurance

Assuring Quality Care for Animals merges the current state-mandated Youth Food Animal Quality Assurance program with animal handling, care and welfare. It expands the scope and breadth of curriculum that is already in place to address the critical issues of quality assurance, food safety, and animal handling and welfare. Components of this program will raise public awareness of the importance of animal handling, care, and welfare in not only farm animal production, but also in the companion and performance animal industry. Furthermore, this program will build a general understanding of food safety to improve the confidence level of consumers toward a safe, wholesome food supply.

This program is applicable to professionals and staff in all four Extension program areas across the state. In addition to 4-H, some examples include:

ANR - Animal production, handling, welfare, and marketing in large and small-scale farming operations; economics; local foods (i.e. poultry, rabbit, and goat products).

FCS - food safety; roles companion animals play in society, including encouraging healthy lifestyles and aiding in promoting a child's quality of life; reducing obesity through facilitating exercise and play; serving as service animals for people with mobility, hearing, and sight impairments, and for people with conditions, such as autism and diabetes.

Community Development - i.e. local foods, farmer's markets, urban agriculture, growth in businesses evolving around the pet industry.

Resources for Quality Assurance

Click here to view and/or download a Quality Assurance Test Study Guide

Ohio Revised Code related to Ohio Youth Quality Assurance

Make sure to check with your local Extension Office for Quality Assurance requirements in your county!

Assuring Quality Care for Animals Team Leader

Elizabeth Share, Extension Specialist, 4-H Youth Development