Whether it’s a rancher hauling a few cows to the sale barn or a commercial trucker loading a semi with “fats” for the packer, drivers play a vital role in beef quality assurance and animal welfare. That’s the motivation behind NCBA’s Transportation Quality Assurance program, says Ryan Ruppert, the organization’s senior director for Beef Quality Assurance (BQA).

Ruppert says that while NCBA has provided training and information on cattle-transport practices since 2006, the program continues to evolve. NCBA now offers an online training and certification program for ranchers or commercial drivers.

Ruppert notes that documenting participation in such a program, as with the BQA program overall, has become increasingly valuable in addressing concerns of retailers and consumers. Some small packing plants, he adds, now require certification through the program for drivers to deliver cattle to their facilities.