Cattle producers are being asked to provide their input to the 2011 National Beef Quality Audit by taking a short survey at . The survey can be completed in approximately 10 minutes. The 2011 NBQA, led by scientists from Colorado State University and Texas A&M University, is designed to collect and analyze information from cooler audits in the packing sector, face-to-face interviews with beef supply chain partners and for the first time cattle producers including feeders, stockers, cow-calf operators, and seedstock producers will be surveyed. According to Tom Field, who manages the BQA program for the Beef Checkoff Program, producer input is being sought to strengthen the measurement of quality-based practices implemented on farms and ranches that support consumer confidence in beef products and production systems. The checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) has provided important benchmarks for the U.S. beef industry since 1991. According to Field, the audit has been conducted about every four years, with the historic focus centered on quantifying the performance of beef carcasses for a number of value enhancing characteristics. Field said previous surveys have assisted in identifying challenges and opportunities for cattle producers. "We hope to quantify the current adoption level of quality driven management practices by the industry and develop a benchmark against which to measure future performance," says Field. "Our goal is to provide a foundation from which to direct future educational initiatives to improve the competitiveness of beef and beef byproducts. By collecting input from cattle producers, we will help consumers and decision influencers better understand beef production and the commitment of cattlemen to produce safe and wholesome beef products." Cattlemen can find the survey online at beginning today (June 2, 2011). The survey also will be available to beef producers at a variety of state, regional and national industry meetings and conventions. The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. 06.02.2011