Illinois to offer PQA Plus, TQA advisor training programs

The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) will be hosting two training sessions for the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) on Nov. 27 and the Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) program on Nov. 28.

PQA Plus is the pork industry's program to assure consumers that U.S. producers are delivering a safe and wholesome product and that they are caring for their animals in a socially responsible manner.

Since its introduction in 1989, PQA has been the pork industry's flagship educational and continuous improvement program. Created through the pork checkoff to promote food safety, the program was expanded several years ago to include animal handling practices and renamed PQA Plus.

To attain PQA Plus certification, a pork producer must meet with a trained advisor once every three years to review the 10 Good Production Practices that promote pork safety and animal well-being practices. To achieve site status, a pork operation must have an on-farm assessment of its animal handling practices by a trained assessor.

IPPA and the University of Illinois Extension have teamed up again to offer a training opportunity for individuals wanting to become PQA Plus advisors or for those needing to re-certify. A training session will be held on Nov. 27 at the IPPA office located at 6411 S. 6th St. Rd. in Springfield.

The PQA Plus Advisor training session will begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude by 2:30 p.m. Cost is $20 per person and includes lunch and all training materials. Registration fee can be paid the day of the training. The training session will be limited to the first 25 people.

Dr. Rob Knox, associate professor at the University of Illinois, will be conducting the training. "We expect our advisors to adhere to strict ethical principles," Knox said. "The industry is constantly changing and evolving to improve pork production practices. Our advisors must be extremely knowledgeable about these advancements. They serve an important role to help our industry improve and maintain its high standards."

Knox said those who qualify and are interested in the program should download, complete and submit the two-page application form available online at  The form also is available by fax by calling Knox at (217) 244-5177.

To be eligible as a PQA Plus® advisor, people must meet the following qualifications:

1. Be a veterinarian, extension specialist or ag educator (defined for this program as a person who spends full time in adult education or at least half time in production training) and

2. Have a D.V.M. or B.S. in animal science or an equivalent combination of education and swine production experience as determined by the PQA Plus trainer reviewing the application and

3. Have two years of recent documentable swine production experience.

The National Pork Board (NPB) is revising the PQA Plus program in 2013. Any PQA Plus Advisors, whose certification is going to expire between Sept 2012 through May 2013, will be granted an extension of your certification to Aug. 31, 2013 by the NPB. All PQA Plus Advisors who were trained in PQA Plus version 1.2 will be required to be recertified in version 2.0 by Aug. 30, 2013.

Pork producers who have yet to become certified or site-assessed can obtain information about the PQA Plus program by contacting the IPPA office at (217) 529-3100 or by visiting

The Pork Checkoff and IPPA are also offering a Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) advisor training workshop in Springfield, IL on Nov. 28. The workshop will take place at the IL Pork Producers Association office from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided. This certification training is intended for individuals who want to train and certify producers, transporters and animal handlers in TQA.

TQA certification of transporters delivering hogs is required by major packers in the United States. The program focuses on promoting the well-being of pigs during moving and transport, and on improving the quality of pork and pork products.

The workshops offered will certify individuals as TQA advisors capable of offering TQA training and certification to producers, handlers and transporters of pigs. The workshop includes a detailed review of program components, update attendees on issues facing transporters and pork producers in today's industry and provide teaching materials and teaching tools that will facilitate the transfer of information to future TQA certified individuals.

Advance registration is required. Cost is $150 per person. Registration form is available at or by contacting the IPPA office at (217) 529-3100. Questions regarding TQA or the workshop can be directed to Dinah Peebles at NPB at (800) 456-PORK.



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