The National Beef Quality Assurance Awards annually recognize outstanding beef and dairy producers and marketers. Winners not only demonstrate high-quality animal care and handling principles as part of their day-to-day operations, but express a strong desire to improve their operations through BQA. As good stewards of the cattle industry, a common trait among nominees is encouraging others to implement the producer education program. Award categories include: Cow-Calf, Dairy, Feedyard, Marketer, and Educator.
Here are this year’s winners:
2020 BQA Cow-Calf Award
The recipient of the 2020 BQA Cow-Calf Award is IX Ranch in Big Sandy, Montana. The 126,000-acre ranch has prioritized raising high quality cattle throughout its history, and has found that having exceptional cattle goes hand-in-hand with training exceptional employees. Implementing BQA fits right in with the ranch’s goal to have a ‘blue-ribbon operation,” as said by the Roth family, who have owned and operated IX Ranch since the 1950s. All full-time employees at the ranch are required to be BQA-certified, and IX Ranch has seen improvement across its operations through low-stress animal handling and increased awareness of employee safety.
2020 BQA – FARM Dairy Award
Boadwine Farms is the winner of the 2020 BQA – FARM Dairy Award. The Baltic, South Dakota dairy cares for more than 2,000 Holstein dairy cows, with 2,500 acres planted with rotating feed and forage crops. The dairy takes pride in opening its doors to educate interns at South Dakota State University, local students, and consumers across the state. Boadwine Farms’ adoption of modern technology and animal handling practices, including following BQA and FARM guidelines across its facilities, not only ensures that visitors gain a clear understanding of best practices but that cow comfort and care is always the number one priority among its employees.
2020 BQA Feedyard Award
Bledsoe Cattle Company is the recipient of the 2020 Feedyard BQA Award. The company is headquartered in Wray, Colorado and has feedyard facilities in several Colorado counties and a stocker ranch in South Dakota. With its diverse operations, the company places high value on BQA guidelines to ensure consistent, high-quality care for its more than 8,000 head of cattle. Bledsoe Cattle Company provides BQA training and certification every three years for its employees. The company also regularly provides BQA training to its contracted crews, sharing the benefits of proper chute-side BQA techniques with livestock operations across eastern Colorado.
2020 Marketer BQA Award
The winner of the 2020 BQA Marketer Award is Western Video Market (WVM). Founded in 1989, WVM has been a proponent of BQA programs and guidelines for nearly as long as BQA has been around and encourages adoption of BQA practices with its producers, buyers, and auction partners. During broadcast auctions where buyers are limited to seeing video of cattle, having a BQA certification shows that producers follow industry standards for high quality animal handling and health care. As BQA programs have grown in recognition throughout the U.S., WVM has seen that lots of cattle from BQA certified producers are more likely to be sold at a premium, yielding benefits to both producers and buyers who recognize the value of the program.
2020 BQA Educator Award
The winner of the 2020 BQA Educator of the Year Award is Curt Pate. For more than a decade, Pate has educated tens of thousands of beef industry professionals on safe and effective stockmanship and livestock handling throughout the United States. His insights on best practices for low-stress livestock handling have not only led more producers to embrace BQA, but shaped the program itself. Pate has been a major proponent in developing BQA’s clinics and demonstrations throughout the program’s history. He continues to advocate for the program’s use to encourage improvement in cattle care throughout the industry.
Award winners are selected by a committee composed of BQA certified representatives from universities, state beef councils, sponsors, and affiliated groups, who assess nominations based on their demonstrated commitment to BQA practices, their service as leaders in the beef industry and their dedication to promoting the BQA message to grow consumer confidence.