American sheep and wool producers place a high priority on sheep care.
The Sheep Safety and Quality Assurance (SSQA) program provides information for sheep producers to help generate safe, high-quality sheep products.
The program uses research and education to improve management practices to maximize consumer confidence in sheep products.
An updated program will be released in 2023.
The American Wool Assurance (AWA) Standards provide confidence to the global marketplace that American wool is produced using high standards of care and handling. These voluntary standards reflect international standards (e.g. Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare) that account for American-style sheep production practices.
Consumers can also be assured that sheep have never been mulesed in the United States.
With 3 levels of certification, buyers can be assured that sheep in the AWA program are receiving a high standard of care.
The AWA program focuses on year-round animal care related to sheep production with an emphasis on animal welfare connected to wool production.
Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) is a national multi-species quality assurance program for youth ages 8 to 21. It is designed as an annual education and certification program focused on food safety, animal well-being and character awareness for youth producing and/or showing pigs, beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, goats, rabbits, and poultry.
The program has been designed by extension specialists and national livestock program managers to ensure it is accurate, current and relevant to the needs of the animal industry and shows and is appropriate for youth.