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Kniffen to Chair National Beef Quality Assurance Program

Posted: February 28, 2016

Animal Science Professor has been selected to provide leadership to national BQA check-off funded program managed by National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

Dr. Daniel K. Kniffen, Assistant Professor of Animal Science in Penn State's Department of Animal Science, has been selected to chair the National Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Group as well as the Producer Education Forum for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA). The Advisory Group provides leadership, advice and guidance to the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) check-off funded program managed by NCBA.

The 16 members include representatives of academia, veterinarians, cattle and beef markets, packers, processors, state affiliate beef industry staff, producers and feeders.  Members serve for three years and may serve two additional three years terms.

Kniffen said, "It is a wonderful opportunity to provide leadership to such an influential, committed group. Our role is to look into the future to identify and address issues that will influence consumers - that is pretty exciting."

Kniffen has been at Penn State since 2001, and has been active within the industry. He previously served an eight year term for NCBA leading the producer education programs, is on the selection committee for their new CEO, and served six years nationally representing PA on the Cattlemen's Beef Board in addition to a six year term in an ex-officio capacity to the Pa Beef Council. He has been co-chair of the Producer Education Committee which provides an educational platform for producers on production issues.

Active with the Pennsylvania Cattlemen's Association, he served on the Center for Beef Excellence Board for six years, having helped the organization get its start. He has been on the Centre County Farm Bureau Board for nine years, and served four years as president.

He earned his three degrees from West Virginia University and did his post-doc work at Colorado State University where he was on the faculty prior to coming to Penn State. He also worked for five years with the producer education programs of the National Cattlemen's Association.

Kniffen, who teaches basic and advanced beef production courses at Penn State, noted that this leadership opportunity will be of value not only to his students to help them understand real-world situations but also beef producers in Pennsylvania to help them better understand where the industry is headed. He is also responsible for the cow-calf Extension efforts for Pennsylvania.

An undergraduate adviser, Kniffen also advises three student groups: Block and Bridle Club, Collegiate Cattlewomen Club and Collegiate Farm Bureau.

The Producer Education Forum which he will chair provides an opportunity nationally for producers to discuss any topics of interest. Held twice annually as part of the larger annual meeting, he said in the past the Forum has proven to be a very stimulating and interesting discussion.

He concluded, "It is pretty humbling to be involved with these dedicated leaders who are working on behalf of the nation's beef producers. I am looking forward to it."

Beef Quality Assurance is a nationally coordinated, state implemented program that provides systematic information to U.S. beef producers and beef consumers of how common sense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions. BQA guidelines are designed to make certain all beef consumers can take pride in what they purchase - and can trust and have confidence in the entire beef industry.

The efforts of BQA across the nation have been instrumental in recent successes that continue to re-build and sustain beef demand. 

NCBA is the marketing organization and trade association for America's one million cattle farmers and ranchers. Begun in 1898, it is a consumer-focused, producer-directed organization representing the largest segment of the nation's food and fiber industry.