Every year during the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) annual symposium, one of the most anticipated announcements of the event is the winner of the Commercial and Seedstock Producer of the year award winners. That’s because, for an organization that has spent 50 years encouraging the research as well as the on-the-ground application of technologies and management practices that improve beef cattle genetics, the BIF awards, sponsored by BEEF, recognize the best of the best in the genetic improvement process.

Here’s a look at the 2014 winners:

Commercial Producer of the Year

The BIF Commercial Producer of the Year award went to CB Farms Family Partnership of Preston, KS, owned and managed by Berry, Carla and Brandon Bortz.

The operation got its start a week after Berry and Carla graduated from Kansas State University in 1982, when they got married and began farming in eastern Pratt County near Preston, KS. They started with two irrigated circles, two dryland quarters and about 300 acres of grass, which they used to background calves.

Their family began in 1986 with the birth of their son Brandon, followed by their daughter, Amber, in 1987 and son, Darnell, in 1991. As the kids grew, so did the farm. In 2001, they started their cowherd and reduced the number of cattle purchased per year. Brandon and his wife, Cari, returned to the farm in 2012.BIF Commericial Producer winner

Today, they farm 19 irrigated circles, 2,500 acres of dryland and 2,000 acres of native grass. They have 550 spring-calving cows, of which 150 are registered Black Angus. They also operate a 1,500 head feedyard and grow corn, wheat, soybeans, milo, sunflowers, cotton, alfalfa, bermuda and feed.

They finish all their calves at home along with some calves they purchase from their bull customers. The calves are marketed through U.S. Premium Beef (USPB). They believe that if the beef industry is going to survive and be something besides a niche in the protein market, operating costs must be reduced in all sectors of the industry. Their mission is to deliver a desirable product to the consumer from which they can derive an acceptable standard of living. To do this, they are going to control or participate in as many practices as they can from solar interception to product delivery on the plate.