Kentucky farmers and University of Kentucky extension agents applied the principles of the Work Crew Performance Model (WCPM), used previously in mining and construction, to identify and prioritize critical action factors (CAFs) for safe handling of cattle. One focus group of farmers helped identify a set of 32 critical action factors in four categories: environmental conditions, animal behavior, facilities and equipment, and handling techniques. A second focus group of farmers used a Q-sort nominal group process to rate each of the factors on the basis of the cost consequences of failure to properly perform the activity. A three-stage binary sort process resulted in a five-point ordinal ranking of tasks within each of the four categories. The Q-sort procedure was performed with assumptions of both routine and emergency animal handling activities. The list and the rankings were validated and modified by extension agriculture agents and by an expert panel of animal scientists and an agricultural engineering educator. The validation process added seven CAFs to the original list. The result of the process was the development of a cattle safety handling checklist that has been used with success in Master Cattleman educational workshops conducted for approximately 1500 Kentucky farmers.