The Beef Checkoff this week honored four farms with the annual national Beef Quality Assurance award and Dairy Beef Quality Assurance award, created to recognize outstanding beef and dairy producers from across the country who incorporate BQA principles as part of the day-to-day activities on their operations. One individual was also recognized with the BQA Marketer Award, and one individual received the BQA Educator Award.
2013 winners were: Billy and Reed Kempfer, Kempfer Cattle Company, Saint Cloud, Fla. (beef); Louis "Woody" Larson, Family Tree Enterprises, Okeechobee, Fla. (dairy); Larry Schnell, Stockmen's Livestock Exchange, Dickinson, N.D. (Marketer of the Year); and Dr. John Maas, UC Davis, California. (Educator of the Year).
Billy and Reed Kempfer, Kempfer Cattle Company
Kempfer Cattle Company is a commercial cow/calf and seed stock operation. The ranch has been in business since 1895 and the sixth generation is now joining the operation, which consists of a 3-way cross of Brahman, Angus and Shorthorn cattle with Charolais bulls used for a terminal cross.
The Kempfers believe that animal husbandry is top priority; mistreatment is completely unacceptable. "If we don't take care of them, they cannot take care of us. We take pride in the compliments given by the feedlots and grazers on the health and dispositions of our calves. Healthy, calm cattle simply perform better." All cattle handling employees have been through BQA training, as well as cattle handling seminars.
Woody Larson, Family Tree Enterprises
Family Tree Enterprises consists of three dairies: Basinger Farm, Gracewood Farm and Lafayette Dairy, LLC and a commercial beef cow/calf operation, The Dixie Ranch, with 4,600 adult cows and 3,000 replacement females on 3,100 acres.
Family Tree Enterprises places emphasis on herd health and reducing cattle stress. Their herd health program takes a preventative approach emphasizing hygiene, vaccine and cow comfort over antibiotic use. The dairy also has written protocols for vaccinations and procedures.
Larry Schnell, Stockmen's Livestock Exchange
Following college, Larry Schnell attended the Western College of Auctioneering in Billings, and returned to work at the auction market, moving into leadership positions, ownership, and overall management of Stockmen's Livestock Exchange Inc., which markets 100,000 to 150,000 cattle each year for 3,000 local cattlemen. He has continued to hone his auctioneering skills not only with practice, but also by competing against the best auctioneers in the nation.
At Stockmen's Livestock, Schnell sees the importance of implementing improved cattle handling and cattle handling facilities at his operation. Schnell was instrumental in the development of the "Focal Point" DVD -An Auction Market Beef Quality Assurance Guide because of the need he saw within his own operation and other Auction Markets for employee education on Beef Quality Assurance topics such as cattle handling, animal welfare, and public awareness.
Dr. John Maas, UC Davis
John Maas, is an integral part of Beef Quality Assurance. While serving in multiple cattle health and quality assurance leadership capacities for the California Cattlemen's Association and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Dr. Maas is known throughout the beef community for his passion in the BQA arena.
Dr. Maas has helped coordinate state, regional and national BQA curriculum for California dairy, feedyard and cow/calf BQA programs and has always ensured that producers and their employees have access to these educational programs. Dr. Maas has often represented CCA and NCBA in the media arena and has testified on behalf of cattlemen on legislative and regulatory issues. Beef Quality Assurance is something that Dr. Maas believes in and shares with cattle producers of all ages as well as with the public in general.
For more information about the BQA program, visit www.bqa.org.