This week, two producers were honored with the checkoff’s annual national Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) award and Dairy Beef Quality Assurance (DBQA) 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. And for the first time, one individual was recognized with the BQA Marketer Award, which was open to livestock markets, cattle buyers and supply-chain programs that promote BQA to their customers and offer them opportunities to get certified; and one individual received the BQA Educator Award, which was open to individuals or companies that provide high quality and innovative training to individuals that care and handle cattle throughout the industry chain.

2012 winners were Wayne Fahsholtz, Padlock Ranch of Ranchester, WY (beef); Logan Bower, Pleasant View Farms of Blain, PA (dairy); Morris Larson, General Manager of Spencer Livestock Sales, Spencer, IA (Marketer of the Year); and Dr. Dee Griffin, University of Nebraska, Lincoln (Educator of the Year).

Wayne Fahsholtz, Padlock Ranch

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.