Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance

Dairy producers are encouraged to participate in the voluntary Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance (DACQA) Certification program. The purpose of this program is to enhance and demonstrate quality animal care practices, ensure the safety, quality and value of beef products from dairy market cows and bulls, and ultimately, enhance consumer confidence in both the milk and beef products that are harvested from cattle on America’s dairy farms.

The program's mission is: to produce quality dairy and beef products for consumers by focusing dairy producers’ attention on quality animal care, through the use of science, research and education initiatives.

Through training, certification, self-evaluation and verification, this program not only demonstrates the producer’s commitment to quality animal care and marketing decisions, it also provides the tools that help dairy producers manage their herds in a way that contributes to the farm’s bottom line.

Dairy Animal Care & Quality Assurance (DACQA) upgrades the previously existing Dairy Beef Quality Assurance (DBQA) program to be user-friendly for the dairy producer. DACQA incorporates both the existing national Quality Assurance and food safety guidelines of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) in conjunction with the umbrella of principles and guidelines set forth by the National Dairy Animal Well- Being Initiative (NDAWI).

DACQA implementation is through voluntary training, standards, and Certification based on these combined national guidelines. Random Third-party Verification is conducted in a manner similar to the Verification system used in validating the pre-existing DBQA program.

DACQAVerification uses statistical sampling to demonstrate a high level of confidence in the integrity of the program. This DACQA Certification manual is a producer resource, which represents the program’s core elements.

This manual lists the program’s guidelines, describes Best Management Practices, offers Critical Management Point checklists for Internal Assessment (self-evaluation), provides a copy of the Personal Contract for Certification, and gives an overview of the random Third-Party Verification process.

Download the DACQA manual here