SMQA (Show Me Quality Assurance Program)

Must be completed by June 1 in order to show)

  • SMQA Youth Training and Education website (4-H members must bring their completion certificate to the extension center to receive required card.)
  • SMQA Information
  • SMQA (Show Me Quality Assurance Program)
    By: Gene Schmitz,  MU Extension Livestock Specialist

    The Show Me Quality Assurance (SMQA) Program is an education program designed to teach youth about good livestock management practices and the responsible use of animal health products. Originally developed in the swine industry, this educational approach has been embraced by other livestock industries.

    In 1989, the National Pork Board developed the Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Program to help American pork producers meet consumer demands for quality and safety. A separate youth PQA program was released in 1998 to assist youth with better understanding their responsibility of producing food for the American people and the world.

    Currently, many states have independent Quality Assurance Programs that provide food safety education for youth exhibiting market livestock (beef, swine, sheep, goat, rabbit, poultry, and dairy). After observing the success of these state programs and noticing some deficiencies of non-swine Missouri youth exhibitors understanding of food safety issues, University of Missouri Extension developed a multi-species quality assurance program that meets the current standards of the National Pork Board Youth PQA Program.

    History shows that educating producers, including youth, in these practices leads to fewer meat quality problems at the packing plant and a safer food supply. Perceived safety, wholesomeness, and nutritional value of food products influence consumer buying decisions. If consumers are not confident that a product is of the highest quality they have come to expect, they will not purchase it.

    Youth also receive training on livestock management issues. Most people have lost ties to food production.  The only contact some people have to animal agriculture is what they observe at a county fair. These youth may be the only ambassador of animal agriculture some people come into contact with in their lifetime. It is therefore imperative that exhibitors have a thorough knowledge of animal handling and animal production issues in order to put animal agriculture’s best foot forward in a public venue, such as a county fair. 

    Youth exhibiting market animals at the Missouri State Fair are required to attend SMQA training sessions and be certified at the appropriate level. Many county fair boards have adopted the same requirement.  Online training is available at this web site:

    If you have concerns about the program, please contact me at the Extension Center in Warsaw at 660-438-5012.