A fence for cows on the American farm. Author: kavaram

Past Award Winners

2022 Winners

Cow Calf Award

River Bend Ranch, Colorado

River Bend Ranch (RBR), located in Limon, Colorado, revolves around their philosophy of being the best stewards possible – to their land, animals, family, friends and neighbors. With stewardship and commitment to Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) at the forefront of the operation, RBR was awarded the distinguished 2022 BQA Cow-Calf Award.

Feedyard Award

Kuner Feedlot, Five Rivers, Colorado

Five Rivers Cattle Feeding recognizes the importance of being a leader and an advocate for the beef industry, and that couldn't be more true for Five Rivers Cattle Feeding – Kuner Feedlot, the 2022 BQA Feedyard Award recipient. Located in Kersey, Colorado, Kuner has a one-time feeding capacity of 100,000 head and houses Five Rivers’ natural cattle program. BQA serves as the backbone of cattle management at Kuner Feedlot. As one of the country's largest and most visible cattle feeding operations, Kuner Feedlot understands that it has a responsibility to represent the beef industry’s foundational management program to a broad audience.

Dairy Award

Langeland Farms, INC., Michigan

Langeland Farms Inc. in Coopersville, Michigan, is the winner of the 2022 Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) – FARM Dairy Award. Langeland Farms was started in 1928 with only 120 acres and 33 cows. Today, the operation has grown to 1,100 milk cows, 850 replacement heifers and 800 steers. As the operation grew, Langeland Farms hired more employees and established a system of training them in BQA and FARM Animal Care guidelines to accomplish their goal of producing quality milk and beef.

Marketer Award

W&J Carpenter, Nebraska

BQA is honored to announce W & J Carpenter Inc., based in Arapahoe, Nebraska, as the 2022 BQA Marketer award recipient. This is the first year a transporter has received this honor. W & J Carpenter was founded in 1991 by Ward and Jill Carpenter to fill a need for quality, reliable and responsible transportation of cattle. Today, the Carpenter team transports more than half a million cattle per year. The company prides itself on attention to detail in all aspects, from hiring knowledgeable employees to continued training for animal handling and transportation. W & J Carpenter strives to provide safe transportation to cattle and enhance the public's perception of animal handling and quality.

Educator Award

Dr. Deb VanOverbeke

Dr. Deb VanOverbeke, assistant dean for academic programs at Oklahoma State University’s Ferguson College of Agriculture, has committed most of her career to the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program and played significant roles in many firsts for BQA. Over her career, Dr. VanOverbeke has also been a part of the 2005, 2011 and 2016 National Beef Quality Audits, making her one of the primary investigators in these audits. Dr. VanOverbeke’s research was instrumental in advancing BQA guidelines for producers.

2021 Winners

Cow Calf Award

Deseret Land & Citrus, Florida

Deseret Cattle & Citrus ranch began in 1950 with a 52,141 acre-purchase of land. Today, the ranch consists of approximately 300,000 acres of land with around 42,000 head of cattle. Deseret Ranch operates an integrated system, running each stage from cow-calf to stocker to feedyard. After more than 70 successful years in operation, Deseret Ranch has committed to innovation and progressive thinking.

Feedyard Award

Imperial Valley Feeders, California

Imperial Valley Feeders has a reputation for being progressive, dedicated to what’s best for both their livestock and their employees. They have an innovative, collective approach to ensuring the area’s entire feeding community abide by BQA principles and practices, and that all employees have the tools to provide the excellent animal care. All employees at the feedyards are adequately BQA trained and know how to effectively carry out BQA practices in their day-to-day interaction with the cattle.

Dairy Award

Willow Behrer Farms, Pennsylvania

Willow Behrer Farms LLC is owned and operated by the Behrer family. The farmstead was originally settled in 1892 by Charles E. Berher with the original farmstead property consisting of 180 acres. With each generation, Willow Behrer Farms LLC has grown and evolved. One thing that has not changed is their superior commitment to quality. Willow Behrer Farms’ commitment to continuous improvement led to the implementation of the National Dairy FARM program, a BQA-equivalent certification program. The FARM program has ignited a passion for employee growth and dedication to learning.

Marketer Award

Livestock Exchange, Colorado

With over 50 years in business and a reinvigorated approach to cattle marketing, the Livestock Exchange, LLC is committed to providing a quality experience for buyers, sellers and ultimately cattle that move through its doors. They adopted a renewed focus on BQA outcomes at the auction market itself, while exposing industry members to the values of BQA through hosting certification events and helping drive value for the program during sales. At Livestock Marketing Exchange, it’s cattlemen taking care of cattlemen. The team provides opportunities for their clients to benefit from programs that will offer additional premiums for their cattle. One such commitment has been their dedication to BQA.

Educator Award

Dr. Steve Boyles, Ohio

For Dr. Steve Boyles, Ohio State University (OSU) beef cattle extension specialist, it’s all about connecting with his students and providing visual, hands-on demonstrations and activities to help them be the best cattle handlers they can be. Besides being an integral and beloved teacher, Boyles has contributed to the makeup and success of Ohio’s BQA program by serving in a leadership position since its inception in 1994. Under his and other agriculture industry leader’s guidance, Ohio’s BQA program resources have been adopted by other states and is the certification tool for the 5-State Beef Alliance (Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky). Throughout his years in BQA, Boyles has hosted many in-person BQA certification opportunities and events. From 2018 to 2020, 10,588 Ohio cattle producers received their BQA certification. In-person certifications represent 74 percent of those beef producers.

2020 Winners

Cow Calf Award


The IX Ranch covers over 126,000 acres and is located south-east of Big Sandy, MT in the mixed grass prairie of north central Montana and extends through the southern edge of the Bear Paw mountain range and east towards the Missouri River. The 4,300 head operation is run by the Roth family, just the second owners in the ranch’s 128-year history. 

Feedyard Award


Bledsoe Cattle Company is a multi-generational, backgrounding and feeding operation based in Colorado.  Although the Bledsoe’s don’t own any mother cows, their operation touches every segment of the beef industry, culminating in their 8,000 head capacity feedyard in Wray, CO. The core of the operation begins with a strong history of relationships with their 35 cow-calf producer-suppliers throughout the western states of Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

Dairy Award


Boadwine Farms, owned by Lynn and Trish Boadwine, is home to over 2,000 dairy cows in Baltic, SD. The herd of Holstein cows is milked 3 times per day in a double 30 parallel parlor and are house in sand-bedded freestalls inside power ventilated barns with sprinkler systems. With a staff of about 40 employees, the Boadwine family strives to produce quality milk and meat from healthy, comfortable cows.

Marketer Award


Western Video Market, Inc. was founded in 1989 by veteran livestock marketers Ellington Peek and John Rodgers to help customers sell cattle in an auction format to a national marketplace via satellite, and now the internet. The company as grown to the second-largest video sale company in the United States and in 2016 marketed more than 290,000 head of cattle for approximately 850 consignors.  The company works with 21 affiliate auction yard companies and more than 60 individual field representatives to consign cattle from the 16 western states. 

Educator Award


Curt Pate is a pioneer in the world of stockmanship and cattle handling, and has shared his knowledge and dairy producers, animal husbandry experts, feedlot operations, students, 4-H and FFA members, horse trainers, and many others across the globe. For the past 20 years, Curt has conducted demonstrations and clinics on BQA, cattle handling, and stockmanship. His skill in conducting stockmanship demonstrations coupled with his effective communication and ability to establish immediate trust and camaraderie with his audiences have made him a sought-after clinician, both on the national and international level. 

2019 Winners

Cow Calf Award


Matador Cattle Company is the recipient of the 2019 BQA Cow-Calf Award. Founded in 1952, the Matador Cattle Company raises more than 12,000 head of cattle on three ranches that are located in Kansas, Texas and Montana. On each ranch, employees are BQA certified and understand proper animal handling. Matador Cattle Company works closely with veterinarians to keep detailed records and is one of the first cow-calf operations to bring in a third party BQA evaluator to determine areas for continuous improvement.

Feedyard Award


The winner of the 2019 Feedyard BQA Award is Buffalo Feeders, located in Buffalo, Okla. Part of the Pratt Feeders Group, Buffalo Feeders is a 30,000 head custom feedyard that focuses on individual animal care. The feedyard incorporates comprehensive animal identification and a complete record keeping system to track the health and progress of each animal from their arrival to the yard to when they are loaded out. Every employee is trained and certified in the care and handling principles of the BQA program.

Dairy Award


Scattered Acres Inc., located in Bedford, Pa., is the winner of the 2019 BQA – FARM Dairy Award. Each day, the Hartman family focuses on the care of their 1,100 cows at their two locations. Knowing that their dairy cows will eventually become part of the beef supply, employees are trained to follow BQA guidelines to ensure high quality milk as well as beef. With use of technology, intensive record keeping and employee training on BQA principles, Scattered Acres is committed to delivering safe, wholesome dairy and beef products.

Marketer Award


The Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association (Equity Coop) is the winner of the 2019 BQA Marketer Award and has served the needs of Wisconsin producers since 1922. As the state’s largest livestock marketer, Equity Cooperative Livestock has 14 locations, more than 300 employees and a focus on BQA best practices. With every employee trained and following BQA principles, the team at Equity is building consumer confidence in Wisconsin’s beef industry.

Educator Award


Dr. Temple Grandin is the winner of the 2019 Educator of the year BQA Award. For more than four decades, Dr. Grandin has been leading the effort for better treatment of livestock. Throughout her career, she has conducted valuable research into the welfare and handling of cattle. She has worked with ranchers, feedlots and packers to identify and prevent challenges in animal care. She has also taught college courses for several decades, shaping the future minds of the cattle industry. Dr. Grandin’s research topics helped shape the BQA program from the beginning and are key components of today’s BQA training initiatives.

2018 Winners

Cow Calf Award


Bently Ranch is a 1,500 head cow calf operation in Northern Nevada.  Today, the ranch has begun to sell their meat directly into the local market, marketing and selling grass fed, grass finished beef.  In all aspects of its operation, Bently Ranch strives to do the right thing when it comes to raising high-quality beef. Proper animal care and handling are at the cornerstone of this ranching operation, and appropriate employee training is a crucial part of that. As such, Bently Ranch requires 100 percent BQA certification of its cowboys and managers.

Feedyard Award


Located in the rolling hills of Rock County, Minnesota, BLAC-X Farms Inc. is a progressive, privately owned commercial cattle feeding operation with a permitted capacity of over 2,900 head.  The operation finishes approximately 4,500 cattle annually in addition to a 250 head spring calving commercial Angus cow herd. BLAC-X. sets the bar extremely high for environmental stewardship, animal care practices and employee training and safety programs. Since they manage both a feed yard and a cow/calf operation, they have the unique ability to see the work of BQA full circle. They also demand high BQA standards for sourcing cattle to utilize in their feed yard.

Dairy Award


Kraft Family Dairies, LLC is a progressive dairy operation in Fort Morgan, Colorado.  The operation consists of 6,500 cows at two separate facilities, Badger Creek Farm and Quail Ridge Dairy, which together produce 500,000 pounds of milk each day. BQA management practices are woven throughout Kraft Family Dairies’ entire production cycle. Consistent with BQA principles, the Krafts are proponents of preventative management, one of their most important prevention strategies is a well-trained work force.  Additionally, Kraft Family Dairies is dedicated to advocating for agriculture and maintains a willingness to adopt new technologies to build consumer confidence.

Marketer Award


Central Livestock operates three livestock markets in Minnesota: Zumbrota, Albany, Rock Creek and one market in West Fargo, North Dakota. They also continue to conduct business out of their corporate headquarters in South St. Paul. These locations cover a majority of Minnesota’s key livestock production areas. In 2015 and 2016, each location hosted a BQA Certification program and Stockmanship & Stewardship workshop. Central Livestock views themselves as a partner in the beef industry, not just a livestock market.

Educator Award


Dr. Ron Gill’s technical knowledge in livestock production and overall understanding of the beef industry makes him one of the foremost livestock experts in the nation. His expertise and leadership in developing beef safety and quality programs has been the driving force behind many of the positive changes in the beef industry.  Today, Dr. Gill is well known throughout the country as he conducts cattle handling seminars through NCBA’s Stockmanship and Stewardship program, in addition to his responsibilities as a professor at Texas A&M University.

2017 Winners

Cow Calf Award


Wulf Cattle is a family operation that takes great pride in raising safe, quality and wholesome beef for consumers. The majority of Wulf Cattle’s cow herd resides in Nebraska with a predominantly Limousin, Angus and Commercial cow herd. They believe animal care is essential for the long term viability of their business, and their focus on quality incorporates daily discussion on Beef Quality Assurance Best Management Practices.

Feedyard Award


The 22,000 head Magnum Feedyard is extremely dedicated to the care and comfort of the cattle they feed and are early adopters of new technologies to improve cattle health and well-being. This progressive feeding operation is committed to building a culture of transparency between the cattle feeding industry and consumers, and promote BQA principles and guidelines on a daily basis.

Dairy Award


Hoffman Farms is a 1,500 cow dairy operation shipping approximately 7,000 gallons of milk per day. This family run operation believes that building trust involves implementing Dairy Beef Quality Assurances practices through education and experiences to produce healthy, nutritious and safe food for our growing population.

Marketer Award


IMI Global provides beef producers a unique opportunity to connect with consumers by serving as the vehicle for producers to tell their BQA story. The company has become the U.S. leader in third-party verification, certification and value-added solutions for beef producers with programs in every sector of the livestock industry. IMI Global is working to establish equivalencies between the BQA standard and other existing or emerging programs.

Educator Award


Working in the field of beef veterinary medicine for more than 30 years, Dr. Bob Smith knows firsthand the role veterinarians must play in Beef Quality Assurance.  Smith’s service and insight has helped shape and mold the BQA program since its inception.  With more than 150 presentations to beef producers, veterinarians and allied groups, he has influenced countless cattlemen and women across North America and Europe.  His passion and drive to teach producers, feedlot employees and others the implementation of BQA is probably what he enjoys most.

2016 Winners

Cow Calf Award


Masonic Villages is a full continuum of retirement living, personal care, and nursing services which serves more than 1,500 residents.  Masonic Village Farm raises 180 cow-calf pairs, and farms about 600 acres of land. Throughout the history of the farming operation, their primary goal and focus has been to economically produce high quality agricultural products while protecting and enhancing the natural resources through conservation measures and sound best management practices through BQA.

Feedyard Award


Nodaway Valley Feeders is a progressive, family-owned commercial feedyard located in Southwest Iowa. About one-third to half of the cattle at Nodaway Valley Feeders are personally owned or owned in partnership with other producers with the rest being custom-fed. Through implementation of BQA practices this family’s commitment is to protect, defend, promote, and enhance the product integrity of beef. 

Dairy Award


Brook-Corner, LLC currently milks 340 Registered Holsteins and owns an additional 400 head of young stock on their farm in addition to farming 130 acres of crops to sustain the cattle. Brook-Corner, LLC holds themselves to a very high standard and accountability of cattle care and expects their employees to fulfill those very same duties and standards. Employees are trained by one of the owners to ensure they understand the BQA best management practices and other daily procedures. The farm and the cows are the Hoover’s livelihood and legacy, and they only wish to be the best care takers possible in order to produce high quality meat and milk.

Marketer Award


Samson, Inc. started as a family farm and feedyard that has blended traditional agriculture production with agricultural services towards a goal of increasing opportunities through value-added services and networks. The Samson Veterinary Quality Assurance program is a combination health and management program for beef cattle with the goal of providing healthy calves that have been humanely handled and will perform to the cattle’s maximum potential for the next owner and ultimately provide a safe, high quality beef product to consumers.

Educator Award


Since before she began her role as a BQA Specialist for North Dakota State University, Lisa was an advocate for doing things right. She learned that from the family ranch she grew up on in Colorado. Her expertise and outreach include management and animal health practices on beef carcass quality, cattle stewardship and handling, and implementing beef quality assurance practices on beef and dairy cattle operations. Her efforts have reached thousands of youth and adults with the BQA message.

2015 Winners

Cow Calf Award


Brackett Ranches, owned by Ira and Kim Brackett and their children, is a fifth generation family cow-calf and stocker ranch that runs approximately 1,500 mother cows along with 2,500 yearlings. Brackett Ranches is committed to improving working facilities that create a low-stress, more cattle-friendly working environment. They are stringent on requiring and encouraging their employees to become BQA certified, implement and follow a variety of conservation practices, and have invested in the improvements that reflect a moral and ethical responsibility when working with cattle. Animal stress reduction enhances immune response to vaccinations, which results in an increase in effectiveness of their health management program.

Feedyard Award


Couser Cattle Company is a progressive, privately owned commercial cattle feeding operation, finishing approximately 10,000 head of cattle each year. The Couser Family has a multi-use Feedlot Learning Center space for training and educating employees, producers, veterinary students, FFA and 4-H groups on how to effectively implement BQA practices. The Couser Cattle Company mission is committed to BQA, Animal Care and Environmental Stewardship by conserving, educating and enhancing their community through the production and use of renewable and sustainable resources.

Dairy Award


Run as a family partnership, the Oregon Dairy Farm includes 500 milking cows and 500 replacements with forages for their cows grown on approximately 900 acres of land. The Oregon Dairy strongly believes that a healthy and comfortable cow will be the most productive. High quality animal care based on BQA practices is a standard on their farm, and employees are trained and certified in BQA. Oregon Dairy hosts a number of educational events throughout the year, teaching students and adults on how to care for their cows and the land while promoting BQA practices and awareness. BQA helps promote a positive image for the beef and dairy industry and Oregon Dairy is proud to be part of the Beef Quality Assurance Program.

Marketer Award


Knoxville Regional Livestock Market places a strong emphasis on proper employee training and communication through BQA employee meetings and certification, low-stress cattle handling seminars, and promotion of BQA through the auction market, online and with FFA and 4-H clubs. When loading cattle from the auction market, appropriate stocking rates are followed and adjusted for certain environmental conditions using BQA guidelines. By understanding that animal care and raising cattle go hand-in-hand and by treating animals the right way, they have set the stage to produce high-quality, safe and wholesome beef.

Educator Award


Dr. Dan Thomson, Director of the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University, has managed the development of a system for delivering online BQA training and certification through animalcaretraining.org.   His enthusiasm for the BQA program through personal presentations to ranchers, cattle feeders, beef processors, retailers and restaurateurs and through the digital, web-based medium, has contributed to a dramatic increase in industry-wide awareness, acceptance and adoption of BQA as the training tool of choice for ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of beef and the health and welfare of beef animals.

2014 Winners

BQA Award


TZ Cattle Company, owned by Mike and Anne Wirtz, is an integrated cow-calf operation. The base herd is purebred Santa Gertrudis.Calves are pre-conditioned using a modified Vac-45 program, raised on grass to 800 pounds, then sent to the feedlot and sold on the grid or contracted on a natural program.

The BOA program, when done properly, enhances the carcass value due to low sickness and no blemishes in the beef itself.  Safe handling techniques reduce stress, help gain, and reduce bruising. This helps to produce a quality product to ensure consumer demand due to an excellent dining experience.

Dairy Award


Merry-Water farms is a family farm which began in 1950.  The dairy farm has 1,350 cows with 1,250 replacement heifers and 200 young steers. All employees are trained in moving cattle without causing stress. This is done by training on the farm or at presentations or classes that go over best handling techniques.  “The well-being of our animals is one of the top priorities for our farm,” Keith says. “If we take care of our animals they will take care of us.

Marketer Award


King Livestock Company, founded in 1967, is family-owned and operated. Dell helped develop the BOA Master Cattle Transporter Guide by meeting with other cattle trucking companies, appearing in transportation videos instructing proper loading techniques and also he developed a loading card for the truck drivers to use in distributing cattle properly onto the cattle trailers. He consistently appraises most of the load-lot cattle for sale, and is on load out day to sort the cattle and load the trucks. He handles his cattle with solid BQA practices.

Educator Award


Dr. Clyde Lane has served as the Tennessee BQA Coordinator since 1999. He was responsible for implementing the Tennessee BOA Program which has trained 18,000 individuals. He has worked on a regional basis to develop regional BQA training materials, vaccine and antibiotic bags used to transport vaccines and antibiotics from point of purchase to the farm. He served on the committee to develop the National BOA Guidelines, presented to guidelines and guided their passage by the State Coordinators.  

Dr. Lane's enthusiasm for the BOA program plus his involvement in the program has resulted in his ability to get large numbers of producers to apply Beef Quality Assurance practices.

2013 Winners

BQA Award


Kempfer Cattle Company is a commercial cow/calf and seed stock operation. The commercial operation consists of a 3 way cross of Brahman, Angus, and Shorthorn cattle with Charolais bulls used for a terminal cross. A minimum of ¼ Brahman blood is maintained in all cows to aid in maximizing production as they are less affected by flood, drought, heat and parasites. They are currently running 2,500 commercial cows with 280 replacement heifers. An additional 300 replacement are raised annually for sale. Their registered Brahman herd consists of 125 head.

The ranch has been in business since 1895 and the sixth generation is now growing up and beginning to help work the land. All family members have their own cattle; they have 29 different ear marks and brands on the ranch. All employees are family and have a deep love for the land and the animals.

Promoting BQA to other producers is important to the Kempfers. They do encourage other producers to have a BQA program. We all produce the same product and we don’t need poor management to turn people away from eating Beef. They are charter members of the Florida Heritage Beef, LLC group which is a coalition of progressive ranchers. Eight ranchers are represented. One of the benefits of the group is the collaboration of management practices and ideas for enhancing beef production. They raise the most wholesome, tasty supply of protein in the world, but we keep in mind there is always room for improvement.

Dairy Award


The operation now consists of three dairy farms with 4,600 adult cows and 3,000 replacement females on 3,100 acres.BQA has been important from the start. The veterinarian and Woody have been the main educators as they continually train their people at the various farms. In addition, they have outside trainers come onsite and they encourage their herdsmen to attend specialized workshops, such the Florida Beef Council-sponsored Dairy BQA trainings for Spanish-speaking employees.Other innovations in their business include reworking there cattle handling facilities by installing some used rubber belting on the fences and chutes to help prevent bruising and injury. Their floors are grooved and gates positioned to avoid tight turns.Woody has always been interested in animal behavior. He's been a Temple Grandin fan for years and has applied many of her concepts in the operation but training for proper cattle handling is never ending: train, train, train. He won’t tolerate rough treatment or injury.

Marketer Award


Larry Schnell is owner and manager of Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange in Dickinson, North Dakota. Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange was founded 1937 as Schnell's Dickinson Livestock Sales Company, founded by Ray Schnell. Through the years, Schnell's Livestock built their reputation on selling quality livestock at top prices. In 1977, the name was changed to Stockmen's Livestock Exchange Inc.

When Larry Schnell saw the need for improved cattle handling and Beef Quality Assurance practices in the livestock marketing industries, he talked to North Dakota BQA coordinator Lisa Pederson about working on an educational program to meet that need. Focal Point-An Auction Market Quality Assurance Guide was submitted and accepted as a National Beef Quality Assurance Pilot Project. This program was developed to help educate auction market employees about Beef Quality Assurance Practices and cattle handling skills. Larry took an active role in the development of the program and in promotion of the program within the livestock marketing community. Without Larry’s “footwork” within the Livestock Marketing Association, it is doubtful the Focal Points DVD would have been as successful and accepted within the industry as it was. The project became a true partnership between the Livestock Marketing Association and the Beef Quality Assurance program. The DVD has been so widely accepted a copy is in every auction market in the United States and the DVD has been dubbed in Spanish.

Educator Award


From the local level to the national level, 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 been willing to travel extensively to ensure that producers and their employees have access to these educational programs. In addition to being on the front lines as a BQA advocate, trainer and program developer, Dr. Maas also works to educate people outside of BQA training programs. He is a long time member of NCBA’s Quality Assurance Advisory Board and is currently Chair of NCBA’s Producer Education which oversees BQA as well as other programs.

In addition to educating producers about BQA, Dr. Maas is a strong spokesperson for the beef industry. 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.

The beef industry would be hard-pressed to find a stronger advocate for BQA than John Maas. In regards to his efforts to reach out to the public, Dr. Maas is always willing to speak to the media about the positive aspects of the beef industry. In speaking with news media, Dr. Maas often shares the various things that producers do to ensure they provide only the best care for their stock – this always includes education and the BQA program.

2012 Winners

BQA Award


Today, headquartered out of Dayton, Wyo. (just north of Sheridan), Padlock Ranch raises over 11,000 calves a year on nearly 500,000 acres across Wyoming and Montana. Calves are born in May and June and then weaned in the fall in Padlock’s feedlot in Wyoming. Calves are grown to yearling weights on silage and hay produced on Padlock’s 7,000-acre farm. Corn and distillers grains are purchased to augment the growing program when needed. In the spring, calves enter one of the following marketing strategies: 1) placed on feed in a finishing yard (retained ownership); 2) sold as yearlings, 3) placed on grass as stocker cattle; 4) placed on a finishing program in Padlock’s feedlot. In recent years, the majority of feeder cattle have been marketed through Country Natural Beef (CNB).

Padlock Ranch is a profit-driven business which places importance on environmental stewardship, community support (both local and the broader community), and hiring/developing excellent people. A foundational goal is to use Best Management Practices throughout the life of an animal to enhance performance, health, beef quality, and ultimately profitability. The Ranch takes a systems approach in developing and implementing these management practices and has coupled these practices with a marketing plan.

Wayne encourages other producers to implement BQA programs by: 1) leading by example; 2) being proactive advocates of BQA practices to our customers, business associates, and the larger community that we deal with regularly; 3) continuing to tell the story through lectureships, symposiums, and publications to reach those in the industry; 4) remaining active in the cattle industry through membership and participation.

Dairy Award


The dairy operation of Pleasant View Farms is comprised of 550 milk cows, which produce in excess of 13 million pounds of milk annually. Also, Pleasant View Farms raises 550 herd replacements to support the milking herd. The forage needs for the 1, 1 00 head of dairy animals are raised on 750 acres of cropland, of which 150 are owned and 600 are rented. The current crop rotation consists of 450 acres of com for silage, 100 acres of alfalfa hay, 50 acres of small grain and 150 acres in grass and pasture.As a dairy producer, it has always been Logan's goal to utilize resources as efficiently and as responsibly as possible to produce a high quality, wholesome product. Extra attention to animal care and stewardship always haves returned great rewards to Pleasant View Farms, both in the sense of productivity and high quality products.As in most confinement dairy operations, two big management challenges have always been mastitis and lameness. Pleasant View Farms enrolled in a program with a supplier to evaluate the milking parlor regularly for proper performance and update equipment, as new technologies are developed. Logan also coordinates milker trainings for employees to ensure proper milking procedures, thus reducing the risk of mastitis. In December 2010, old worn out free stall mattresses were replaced with a softer, more durable material to enhance cow comfort not only in the short term but also for the long term.

Marketer Award


Morris has been at Spencer Livestock Sales since 2001 and served as General Manager since 2004. He continuously strives to improve BQA practices at the auction market, to better educate himself, his employees and area livestock producers about the benefits of implementing BQA practices on the farm and provides guidance to others in animal care and welfare.When it comes to the proper handling of livestock, no one does it better than the staff at Spencer Livestock Sales -- cattle are handled with as little stress as possible. And, employees continue to be educated weekly on how to handle livestock so that injuries are eliminated. His tolerance policy on injured livestock from human handling is “zero”.One nominator says this of Morris:  “Morris is a leader in holding educational seminars for cattlemen on everything from BQA certification, animal handling to source and age verification. He donates the use of the auction market for 4-H & FFA weigh-ins and educational programs. His dedication to our youth, and to helping area producers add value to their cattle through an increased knowledge of cattle handling techniques and new technology, is a model for all of us. The beef industry in northwest Iowa is better today because of his commitment to beef producers, and will be better in the future because of his commitment to our youth.”

Educator Award


Dr. Dee Griffin has been a BQA Certified Trainer in Nebraska and served on Nebraska’s BQA Advisory Board since the program’s inception in 1987. He started the first “Train the Trainer” sessions in Nebraska and has traveled from one end of the state to the other educating BQA Trainers. Dee has single-handedly trained 250 BQA Trainers in Nebraska and has personally certified over 1,000 producers.One nominator says of Dee:  “In the early 1980s, the beef industry realized a need for Beef Quality Assurance. Dr. Griffin was one of the pioneers that helped that idea become a reality. Dr. Griffin volunteered his time and resources to help develop the BQA standards and program. Dr. Griffin never gave up, and to this day he continues to help educate, advise and promote Beef Quality Assurance.”The National BQA award winners are selected annually by a committee of representatives from universities, state beef councils and cattle industry groups.

2011 Winners

BQA Award


Lykes Ranch is a cow-calf operation located in Lake Okeechobee, FL, that encompasses 337,000 acres and is one of the largest contiguous pieces of land in the state. The property is a tapestry of farmland, forest and pastures, woven together with wetlands, and wildlife corridors. The Ranch includes integrated cow-calf, forestry, turf and sugar cane production. The ranch was started over 100 years ago by Dr. Howell Tyson Lykes when he left a career in medicine to begin raising cattle and citrus at the family homestead. Today, managed by Mike Milicevic, Lykes Bros. Inc. is still family owned and continues to build on the foundation laid by previous generations. With more than 17,500 head of cattle, the Lykes Ranch is currently the 4th largest cow/calf operation in the U.S. Mike believes that in addition to superior genetics and herd health programs, their BQA program is the key to the success of the operation.

Dairy Award


John Ligo is the co-owner of LiTerra Farm, located in Grove City, Pennsylvania along with wife Judy. Originally founded in 1988, LiTerra Farm includes 230 milking cows as well as 180 homebred dairy replacements. John also owns a beef cow-calf enterprise as well as a registered seedstock operation. John focuses on using his resources efficiently to produce a wholesome product and be environmentally responsible. John is also active in numerous organizations that support Beef Quality Assurance and has been a strong public role model for BQA.

2010 Winners

BQA Award


101 Livestock, Inc., is a livestock auction market located in Aromas, CA that predominantly sells beef cattle at public auctions which are held 50 weeks per year.  Jim Warren originally leased the facility in 1975.  At that time, the business had two full time employees and sold about 5,000 cattle annually.  Today there are 12 full time employees and up to 60,000 cattle are sold each year.  Beginning in 1985 and finishing in 1991 Jim and his employees completely redesigned and modernized 101 Livestock.  By using common sense along with input from recognized cattle handling and facility design experts; Jim and his crew where able to create an auction market that excels in terms of cattle handling and cattle comfort.

Dairy Award


Phoebe Bitler is the co-owner of Vista Grande Farms along with husband David and their son Jesse. Originally founded in 1937 by Phoebe’s parents, Vista Grande Farm is a Registered Holstein dairy operation with 100 milking cows as well as 150 replacement females that the Bitler’s develop for them and for neighboring dairies.  Phoebe helps manage the day-to-day operations and focuses much attention on maximizing cow comfort through regular hoof trimming, water beds, and by using tunnel ventilation in their barns.  Vista Grande Farm is located in a densely populated county in southeastern Pennsylvania right next to a heavily traveled road which has created some challenges but also provides the opportunity to showcase a tidy farmstead, along with clean and well cared for animals to the consuming public.

2009 Winners

BQA Award


In 1997, Anne Burkholder graduated from Dartmouth College and moved to Cozad, NE with her husband, Matt, to run the family feedyard that Matt’s father started in the early 1970’s.  Anne is now the owner, head cowboy, feeding foreman, environmental steward and marketing manager.  Over the years, Burkholder began to analyze what her “small” feedyard niche was going to be.  She went to work finding producers who are interested in the data and insight Burkholder can offer by tracking their calves through the feedyard and into the packing plant.  Will Feed Inc. is very focused on implementing BQA in every aspect of the feedyard.  Anne ensures that her pharmaceutical reps, nutritionist and anyone else contributing to the operation are BQA certified.

Dairy Award


Jim Docheff is a fourth generation dairy farmer milking 600 cows, with a mix of Holstein, Brown Swiss and Jerseys. With a combination of an ever-changing consumer mindset demanding locally grown products and their close proximity to the booming front range of Colorado, the family developed a plan to become a more successful dairy enterprise by directly merchandising milk and milk products through a home delivery system and to wholesale customers.  The dairy’s goal is to produce a natural, healthy and high quality product that consumers can have confidence in and prides itself on its animal care practices.  With this in mind, one of the policies we have embraced is an open door invitation to anyone who would like to come and see the day-to-day operations on the dairy.