As a producer why should I participate in VBP?
This question touches on a common concern on just what is the value. Most of the practices in the VBP Producer Manual are low-cost or no-cost, therefore as a voluntary program we ask that producers consider adaptation of these within their practices. Many producers have indicated they are in general following most of them, so to talk about them just a bit essentially models the behaviour we would like to see for all beef cattle producers. And sometimes helps to tweak practices at home, to improve what we do. Or confirm that we are proactively managing on-farm food safety risks and can perhaps more readily address inadvertent errors that sometimes can occur.
In other words, a bit of peer pressure by "doing by example" could help producers who perhaps don't know better, or don't put proxy in outsiders telling them what to do ... to more easily adapt industry-sanctioned practices. As a producer, those folks following less acceptable practices need to come in line, as they can affect my livelihood and the image of my livelihood/beef product too. Positive modelling can sometimes go a long ways to helping all of us, rather that forcing folks to follow regulations that sometimes hardly fit any of us.
Producers tell us there are some individual benefits such as improved management of animal health products, training new staff, or adding to beef marketing if selling more directly to customers and consumers. For some, it's also the intangible benefit of knowing they use industry-sanctioned practices, and can be proud of what they do.