BQA Feedyard Award winner Peter Bakken of BLAC-X Farms, Inc. in Rock County, Minn., said the components of the program, which include low stress animal handling, pharmaceutical use, record keeping and feed management help to set important standards for the industry.
“It’s a standard set of practices that feedyards, whether they’re in Rock County, Minn. or in Little Rock, Ark., can follow the same set of animal raising and care practices so that at the end of the day the steak that’s on the plate or in the meat counter, the consuming public can have confidence that’s in been raised by a standard set of practices that everybody is following, not just us,” said Bakken.
BQA Educator of the Year Dr. Ron Gill said reducing stress is a key component of the program.
“The main thing we’re talking about through livestock handling and stockmanship is to reduce stress on the cattle and the people that are handling them,” said Gill. “If we can reduce stress, we can cut down on sickness rates in those cattle, which allows us to use less antibiotics to treat respiratory disease and other illness. Everything starts kind of rolling together if we can keep stress down.”
Gill said the program offers a self-assessment tool for producers and encouraged more operators to use those tools to evaluate what they are currently doing and to see where they might make improvements.
The complete list of winners is as follows:
2018 BQA Cow-Calf Award
Bently Ranch, located in Minden, Nev., is the recipient of the 2018 Cow-Calf BQA Award. The ranch has a focus of doing the right thing in all aspects of beef production. Bently Ranch takes on a relaxed and low-stress attitude with a commitment to proper animal care and handling. With a recent focus on selling direct to the consumer, the ranch has noticed a big difference in the quality of their cattle thanks to implementing BQA practices.
2018 BQA Dairy Award
Kraft Family Dairies, located in Fort Morgan, Colo., is the winner of the 2018 BQA Dairy Award. Simply put: they care for their cows. By combining their passion with a focus on preventative health management, the farm showcases their commitment to BQA guidelines in every step of their dairy operation. What makes Kraft unique is its two-farm operation. One site houses healthy cattle. The other takes in animals that may need a little TLC. By using this two-site system, Kraft Family Dairies has drastically cut down on the number of cattle in the hospital.
2018 BQA Feedyard Award
The winner of the 2018 BQA Feedyard Award is BLAC-X Farms in Rock County, Minn. Between the two minds of the Bakken brothers, Jay and Peter, they share an extensive knowledge of the feedlot, cow-calf herd and crop operations. With a focus on education, they participate in several research projects and share their ideas on the best BQA practices with hundreds of others during tours of their operation.
2018 BQA Marketer Award
Central Livestock in South St. Paul, Minn., has been named the 2018 BQA Marketer Award winner. Their marketing practices encourage producers to focus on BQA vaccination standards by incentivizing vaccinations in the sale ring. Cattle that are up-to-date on vaccinations sell for higher prices. They also have step-by-step guides for producers to follow that highlight animal safety, ultimately yielding the best cattle.
2018 BQA Educator of the Year
Dr. Ron Gill is the winner of the 2018 BQA Educator of the Year award. In addition to his responsibilities as professor at Texas A&M University, Dr. Gill takes his lessons outside the classroom and into the field for collaborative, hands-on demonstrations through NCBA’s Stockmanship and Stewardship program. Not only an avid proponent of BQA practices, he’s also helped develop some of the BQA guidelines that many producers follow today.
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Peter Bakken here: Interview with Peter Bakken, BLAC-X Farms, Inc.
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Dr. Ron Gill here: Interview with Dr. Ron Gill, Texas A&M University