Four Beef Quality Assurance awards presented
Recently, two producers were honored with the beef checkoff's 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 of Kempfer Cattle Company of Saint Cloud, Fla. (beef); Louis "Woody" Larson, Family Tree Enterprises of 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).
Kempfer Cattle Company is a commercial cow-calf and seed stock operation. The ranch has been in business 1895 and the sixth generation is now growing up and beginning to help work the land. 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 1/4 Brahman blood is maintained in all cows to aid in maximizing production as they are less affected by flood, drought, heat and parasites. The ranch currently runs 2,500 commercial cows with 280 replacement heifers. An additional 300 replacement are raised annually for sale. The registered Brahman herd consists of 125 head.
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.
Family Tree Enterprises LLLP 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.
Larson said in his application, "BQA has been important from the start. Our veterinarian and I have been the main educators as we continually train our people at the various farms. In addition, we have outside trainers come on-site and we encourage our herdsmen to attend specialized workshops, such the Florida Beef Council-sponsored Dairy BQA trainings for Spanish-speaking employees. Other innovations in our business include reworking our cattle handling facilities by installing some used rubber belting on the fences and chutes to help prevent bruising and injury."
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.
Schnell has worked diligently to improve the overall husbandry and Beef Quality Assurance knowledge of the producers who market cattle through their operation. He is fully committed to the idea that educating producers about pertinent practices such as giving shots in the neck, following withdrawals times, implementing better genetics into a producers program, handling cattle better, and marketing cows and bulls in a timely fashion not only improves the producers operation, but their financial soundness, and the beef industry as a whole.
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, 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, Maas is known throughout the beef community for his passion in the BQA arena.
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. In addition to being on the front lines as a BQA advocate, trainer and program developer, Maas also works to educate people outside of BQA training programs. He is a longtime member of the BQA Advisory Board.
As a veterinarian, Maas shares the importance of proper nutrition, drug use, drug administration and proper animal handling. He is also known throughout California for his "Vet Views" column in the California Cattlemen magazine where he often promotes BQA messages. He has written over 150 of these columns that are many times reprinted locally and nationally in other publications.
In addition to educating producers about BQA, Maas is a strong spokesperson for the beef industry. 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 Maas believes in and shares with cattle producers of all ages as well as with the public in general.