• Background & History
  • Leadership: Founding Members & BOD & Committee & Staff


  • Audit Certification Information
  • Audit List


  • How to Become PAACO Certified
  • Recertification
  • Find An Auditor


  • Onsite
  • Online-List of Trainings
  • Log In page
  • Registrations Instructions


  • Industry Resources
  • Auditor Forms

& Info

  • Updates
  • Continuing Education Opportunities
  • Industry job posting


Background & History


Successful livestock, dairy and poultry producers and their related industry partners provide sound animal care on commercial farms and harvest plants. Most animal and meat producer organizations have guidelines that are consistent with sound science and a consideration of economic realities.

In the early 2000's, food associations representing their retail and food service corporate members asked producer groups to develop and send species-specific guidelines for their review. After consideration of adoption of all or part of these welfare guidelines, the retail and food service companies had an expectation that plant and on-farm audits of farm animal welfare would begin.

Many species groups have some degree of well-being programs in place, ranging from educational to auditable:


The National Pork Board has evolved several programs into the current Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA+) program, which is designed to cover best management practices and welfare. In addition, they have a Transportation Quality Assurance (TQA) program in which transportation welfare is addressed through training and certification of transportation is offered. Recently, they facilitated the development of the “Common Swine Industry Audit” involving producers, pacers, customers and other stakeholders.


For many years, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) Foundation has developed and revised a meat plant slaughter audit covering cattle, swine and sheep from delivery to the plant until death. This is widely utilized by their industry and customers.


There are multiple assessment and audit programs in this industry. They range from educational to verifying welfare practices.


Welfare audits exist in all three areas:

  • Layers -- United Egg Producers has a longstanding well-being program covering cage and cage-free production styles. A large majority of table eggs is covered by their annual audits from layer placement through de-population.
  • Broilers -- National Chicken Council developed a management and production audit in 2004 covering from hatchery to slaughter. This audit is used as the primary basis of specific customer audits in their industry.
  • Turkey -- National Turkey Federation has had a Guidelines and Audit tools in place for several years (revised every two years) that is widely utilized by their production companies and customers.


The National Cattlemen's Association and its state affiliates use the Beef Quality Assurance program as their educational tool. The beef industry is working to organize its guidelines and audit programs.

In 2016, the Alberta-based National Cattle Feeders Association launched an audit tool developed by stakeholders in this area of cattle production. The audit covers from delivery of cattle to feed yards to load out to packers.


Professional animal science and veterinary organizations have direct interest in and expertise in farm animal welfare. Among the species-specific veterinarian organizations are the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) and the American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP). In addition, the research, teaching and extension expertise of the members of the animal, dairy and poultry science associations -- American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) and Poultry Science Association (PSA) – and the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) bring immense resources to the topic of animal care and handling. These organizations have supported and contributed their expertise to pork, dairy, beef and avian health, quality and care assurance programs.

The process by which harvest plant and on-farm animal welfare auditors are qualified, trained and certified continues to be developed. Many groups and PAACO require the plant and on-farm auditors and audit firms to have specific qualifications, experience and abilities. The organizational members of PAACO are professional, independent, science-based groups that have come together to initiate training and certification for on-farm and harvest plant auditors.

Board & Committees

Board Members & Committess

ARPAS Appointments

John T. Richeson, Ph.D. (2019)
Assistant Professor of Animal Science
Office: Agriculture and Natural Sciences Building, Feedlot Research Group
West Texas A&M University
WTAMU Box 60998
Canyon, TX 79016

Paul A. Beck, PhD (2018)
University of Arkansas, Southwest Research & Ext Ctr
362 Highway 174 N
Hope, AR 71801

ADSA Appointments

Dr. Cassandra B. Tucker, PhD (2019)
Committee Chair-Qualifications & Standards
University of California Davis
Animal Science Dept
UC Davis
1 Shields Ave
Davis, CA 95616

Dr. Marcia Endres, PhD, DVM (2019)
Professor - Dairy Cattle Production & Welfare
University of Minnesota
Department of Animal Science
225C Haecker Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108

AASV Appointments

Cassandra Jass, DVM (2019)
Veterinarian, Director of Production Well-Being
Iowa Select Farms
16378 Hwy S27
Alden, IA 50006

Angela Baysinger, DVM, MS, (2018)
Vice Chair
Animal Welfare Lead; North America
Merck Animal Health
2216 Road 6800
Bruning, NE 68322

AABP Appointments

D. Dee Griffin, DVM, MS (2018)
Professor, Feedlot Production Mgt. TAMVMC (Tex A&M Vet Med Ctr)
Ag. Sci., Rm 213A
WTAMU Box 60998
Canyon, TX 79016-0001

Dave Sjeklocha, DVM, (2019)
Operations Manager of Animal Health and Welfare
Cattle Empire, LLC
1174 Empire Circle
Satanta, KS 67870

AAAP Appointments:

David Hermes, DVM, ACPV (2019)
Regional Veterinarian
Perdue Foods LLC
P.O. Box 539
Washington, IN 47501

David A. Pyle, DVM, DACVP, (2018)
David Pyle. DVM, LLC
2650 Pebble Ct.
Zeeland, MI 49464

ASAS Appointments

Tom Hoagland (2019)
Dept of Animal Science 
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06235

Heidi Ward, DVM, PhD (2019)
Assistant Professor & Veterinarian
University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
2301 S. University Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72204-4940

PSA Appointments

Karen Christensen, PhD (2019)
Committee Chair-Training & Education
Sr. Director of Animal Well-Being
Tyson Foods
2200 W. Don Tyson PKWY.
Springdale, AR  72762

Kenneth E. Anderson, PhD (2019)
Professor, Poultry Extension Specialist
Director, North Carolina Layer Performance and Management Program
Prestage Dept. of Poultry Science
North Carolina State University
2711 Founders Drive
Box 7608
Raleigh, NC 27695-7608
E-mail: ken_anderson@ncsu.edu

AMSA Appointments:

Bucky Gwartney, PhD (2018)
AMSA Past President
830 Neal Dr.
Alexandria, VA 22308

Lynn Delmore, PhD (2019)
Colorado State University
Department of Animal Sciences
Center for Meat Safety & Quality
1171 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1171


Executive Committee:

Vice Chairperson,
Dave Hermes-Treasurer
Heidi Ward-Secretary

Qualifications & Standards Committee

Chair: Cassandra Tucker
Members: Ken Anderson, Marcia Endres,
Dee Griffin, David Pyle, Lynn Delmore,
Dave Sjeklocha, John Richeson

Training& Education Committee

Chair: Karen Christensen
Members: Paul Beck, Dave Hermes, Heidi Ward, Bucky Gwartney, Cassandra Jass, Tom Hoaglund

Finance Committee

Chair: Dave Hermes, Treasurer
Members: Exec Committee

Nominating Committee

Members: Exec Committee

Member Organization Board Liaison-Steve Koenig

Office Address:

302 Platte-Clay Way, Suite 107
Kearney, MO 64060
B:  402-403-0104

Executive Director

Collette Kaster
M: 660-748-5602

Training Coordinator

Dakota Thomas


Marjorie Jones

Member Organizations

Organization Staff Contacts

American Association of Bovine Practitioners
K. Fred Gingrich II DVM
Executive Vice President
American Association of Bovine Practitioners
1130 East Main St Suite 302
Ashland, OH 44805
419-496-0685 (office)
419-496-0697 (fax)
419-606-3558 (cell)

American Association of SwineVeterinarians
Tom Burkgren, DVM
Executive Director
830 26th St
Perry, IA 50220
B: 515-465-5255
F: 515-465-3832

American Association of Avian Pathologists
Suzanne Dougherty
Executive Vice President
12627 San Jose Blvd., Suite 202
Jacksonville, FL  32223-8638
Bus: 904-425-5735
Mobile: 256-975-1663

Bob Bevans-Kerr, Executive Director
American Association of Avian Pathologists
12627 San Jose Blvd., Suite 202
Jacksonville, FL 32223
Phone: 904-425-5735

Poultry Science Association
Stephen E Koenig, PhD
Exec. Director
701 Devonshire Dr, C-51
Champaign, IL 61820
B: 417-683-2545
C: 417-207-6384

American Society of Animal Science
Meghan Wulster-Radcliffe, CEO
PO Box 7410
Champaign, IL 61826
B: 217-356-9050 Ext 6
F: 217-568-6070
M: 217-621-4623

American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists
Kenneth R. Cummings
Executive Vice President
348 Rosemont Ringoes Rd
Stockton, NJ 08559
(609) 397-5348
FAX: (609) 397-5348

American Meat Science Association
Thomas Powell, Executive Director
301 N Neil St Ste 400
Champaign, Illinois 61820 USA
800-517-AMSA (2672) 

American Dairy Science Association
Peter Studney, Executive Director
1800 South Oak St, Suite 100
Champaign, IL 61820
Office: (217) 356-5146
Fax: (217) 398-4119


Collette Kaster

Executive Director

A native of northwest Iowa, Kaster holds a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from South Dakota State University and an M.S. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She joins PAACO after serving most recently as senior vice president of quality technical services and hog procurement for Smithfield Foods.

Kaster has long been involved with key industry activities such as the animal welfare committees of both the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and the National Pork Board (NPB). She has served on the NPB’s Food Safety and Pork Quality Solutions committees and as a chair of the NAMI Inspection Committee. She was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection from 2001-03 and is past president of the American Meat Science Association as well as an AMSA Fellow.

Collette, her husband Dennis, and their two girls Sam and Sophie live outside of Kearney on a small acreage where they run a small herd of cattle and horses. Outside of work you can find Collette at a softball diamond or volleyball court cheering on her daughters or headed out to the slopes to take in a little skiing.

Dakota Thomas

Training Coordinator

A native of southwest Wisconsin, she was active on her family’s cow/calf and crop operation. Her passion for livestock led her to South Dakota State University where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Communications and minors in Advertising, Animal Science, Journalism and Marketing. At SDSU, Dakota was a member of the livestock judging team and served as the Executive Chair of the Jackrabbit Memorial Jackpot Show.

Dakota comes to us with a wealth of cattle knowledge which will be utilized as she heads up the new Beef Feedlot and Dairy trainings. She will be involved with all things training from expanding our online 201 courses to developing content and setting up onsite trainings. Dakota’s agricultural communications background will be useful as we increase our communication efforts as PAACO continues to grow.

In her free time, Dakota runs a small photography business, specializing in on-ranch/farm candids and livestock show photography. Along with taking pictures, she enjoys spending time outdoors, working with cattle and attending livestock shows.

Marjorie Jones

Administrative Assistant

A native of Northwest Missouri, Marjorie grew up in a farming community. She holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from the University of Missouri. Marjorie worked in petroleum marketing for seven years before deciding to stay home to raise her children. She is a scheduling master and has served many roles through school associations and clubs.

Marjorie’s high organization and office management skills are fundamental to PAACO. She makes sure all things behind the scene are working properly. Marjorie has spent countless hours learning and refining the process of audit certification, recertification and payments. Many of you have had contact with Marjorie over the year and know how great she is!

Marjorie, her husband Shannon, and their two children, Anna and Sam, live in Kansas City. Marjorie spends her time outside of work watching her daughter show quarter horses and her son play baseball.

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