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. 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).

Billy and Reed Kempfer, Kempfer Cattle Company

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 ¼ 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.

Woody Larson, Family Tree Enterprises

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.”