A husband-wife team from Nebraska and a BEEF magazine marketing executive were recognized for awards presented on June 2 during the43rd Annual Meeting and Research Symposium in Bozeman, MT.

Reuben and Connee Quinn of Chadron, NE, were recognized as BIF’s Commercial Cow-Calf Operation of the Year, while Jay Carlson, Kansas City, MO, who serves as regional sales manager for BEEF magazine, was honored with the groups Ambassador Award.

BIF’s Commercial Cow-Calf Operation of the Year Award honors progressive commercial cow-calf producers for their efforts to not only improve their own operations, but move the industry forward in its efforts to improve herd genetics that enhance production efficiency while producing beef that belongs at the center of the plate.

The Quinns began their operation in 1974 with the purchase of 50 Simmental x Angus crossbred heifers. The ranch is located primarily on leased land on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota as well as Dawes County in northwestern Nebraska.

Currently, Angus x Simmental cows are bred to Angus, Simmental and Angus x Simmental composite bulls to calve in the spring. The goal is to produce a cow with high output and relatively low inputs in a challenging environment compromised by high-selenium and sulfate levels in the water and grass.

Depending heavily on EPDs for selecting sires with calving ease and moderate milk yet above average growth traits, the Quinns require a cow that produces excellent replacements as well as high-performing feeder cattle. Calves are retained through the feedlot phase and typically sold on a carcass merit basis. Feedlot performance and detailed carcass data have been collected on the calf crop for more than 15 years.

Thirty percent of the mature cows, all of the replacement heifers and second-calf heifers are synchronized and bred artificially. Individual cow records and ranch production are documented for continual management improvement. Measured areas include reproductive performance, weaning percentage per cow exposed, and annual cow cost by line item. A network of experts, in various industry disciplines, are regularly consulted to achieve the Quinns' goals of profitability and production criteria.

BIF’s Ambassador Award annually honors a member of the media for their efforts in helping cattle producers better understand cattle performance testing and genetic prediction tools.

As regional sales manager for BEEF magazine and its digital communications properties, Carlson has been instrumental in working to promote awareness among producers of BIF’s efforts in standardizing programs and methodologies for accurately and uniformly measuring, recording and assessing data concerning the performance of beef cattle. The efforts of BIF are aimed at improving the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of beef production.

Arguably the nation’s top marketer on a volume basis of print and online livestock advertising, Carlson has long been a top promoter of livestock publishing in North America. He was awarded the Ed Bible Distinguished Service Award in 2006 by the Livestock Publications Council (LPC), on whose board of directors he currently serves. LPC is an association of 110 livestock-focused publications in the U.S. and Canada.

Carlson grew up on a small farm near Lockport, IL, where he was active in 4-H, FFA and sports. He was an Honors Scholar and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from the University of Missouri (MU)-Columbia in 1976. At MU, Carlson continued his love for the livestock industry by serving as regional president for Block & Bridle, as well as participating on the MU Livestock Judging Team. Carlson was named in 2010 as a Distinguished Alumni of UM’s Animal Science Department.
Carlson is a lifelong participant in livestock showmanship activities, an involvement that continues today and an interest he fostered in the lives of his two daughters. His current activities include those as a livestock committee member for the American Royal Livestock Show, as well as superintendent for the Junior College Judging Team Contest.

His family includes his wife Linda and daughters Grace and Claire. Grace is a freshman medical student at MU, while Claire is a sophomore agriculture communications major at Kansas State University. Carlson is also an elder in his local church and continues to volunteer as a youth group leader.
For a full rundown of the BIF proceedings and other award winners, visit http://www.bifconference.com/bif2011/index.html