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The Park County Extension office works in cooperation with county, town and volunteer initiatives to provide community education and assistance in five main areas: Agriculture, Horticulture, Family and Consumer Science, Natural Resources and 4-H Youth Programs.

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Meat Quality Assurance (MQA)

What is the Meat Quality Assurance Program?

4-H members enrolling in any market and/or breeding livestock projects for the first time regardless of age, must attend a Colorado 4-H Meat Quality Assurance (MQA) program. A Colorado 4-H Meat Quality Assurance (MQA) program is considered to be either a training conducted using a Colorado 4-H MQA trailer or the Colorado 4-H MQA Power Point. All Colorado 4-H MQA programs must be conducted by the County 4-H Agent or approved designee.

The Colorado 4-H Meat Quality Assurance (MQA) program is for 4-H members enrolled in market and/or breeding livestock projects. Members must attend an official Colorado 4-H Meat Quality Assurance (MQA) program twice during the course of their 4-H career, once during their first year of 4-H and once upon becoming a senior age member. It is required that the Colorado 4-H MQA training be completed at least 45 days prior to exhibition of animals. Counties themselves may implement additional requirements at their own discretion.

Additional quality assurance certifications may be required by fairs, shows and sales. It is the sole
responsibility of each individual exhibitor to review fair, show and sale rules for events they plan to
participate in or attend, and to comply with any additional certifications at their own expense.
For Example: Certifications such as the Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) may be required by fairs, shows or sales. In such a situation, The Colorado 4-H MQA certification is not a substitute for any fair, show or sale’s additional certification requirement.

Youth needing to take the YQCA training may do so online or in person at their own expense. For more information visit the YQCA website at the following link For more information regarding in person YQCA training please contact one of the following County Extension Agents who are currently certified YQCA trainers.

Kindra Plumb

Scott Stinnett

Jamie Jo Axtell

JoLynn Midcap

Travis Taylor

Christine Schinzel

Amy Kelley

For the Counties that have Fairs / Sale Committees that sell livestock to packers, you will want to contact your packer very soon to verify what type of certification they will require. Many of the large packers are requiring YQCA and will not accept the Colorado 4-H MQA program certification. If your county’s packer is going to require YQCA we recommend you contact your County 4-H Youth who are in need of the YQCA certification to make them aware of the requirement. For face to face YQCA trainings instructors may require additional payment to help with travel expenses.

Colorado State Guidelines:

Meat Quality Assurance Program is required for all 4-H members enrolled in a Market and/or Breeding Livestock Project.

  • Once as a first year member who is a Junior or Intermediate member(between the ages of 8 and 13)
  • Again when a member becomes a Senior (age is 14 years old)
  • The only exception to being required to take it twice would be for a first time member who was 14 or older, in that case it would only be required once.
  • Those members not required to attend a MQA Program are encouraged to complete a Quality Assurance Checklist.
  • To qualify for State Fair as a Swine exhibitor, Pork Quality Assurance must be taken the first three years and then again at age 15.