Jim Schwertner, Capital Land and Livestock, Schwertner, TX, was awarded the Beef Industry Vision Award by the National Cattlemen's Foundation, The award is given annually to the top beef innovator of the year.

Schwertner is involved in cattle feeding and stocker cattle, and is one of the largest U.S. livestock dealers. He helped develop industry-leading programs such as the Vac 45 program known as Schwertner Select, Beef Advantage and Consolidated Beef Producers.

“The industry needs vertically integrated information,” Schwertner says. “The current technology, combined with individual ID, could evolve this industry into a vertical marketplace focused on quality and consistency. From the rancher to the retailer, we can evaluate the quality of the product being produced, striving to represent a better and more wholesome center of the plate for the consumer.”

Frances Raulerson, New Smyrna Beach, FL, was named Outstanding CattleWoman of the Year. The award is given to a cattlewoman who's excelled at continuing beef promotion.

Raulerson passed away March 25, 2004, after an automobile accident. She was active in the Volusia County CattleWomen, Florida CattleWomen and ANCW.

Williamson Cattle Co., Okeechobee, FL, and Faunsdale, AL, is the winner of the 2004 National Environmental Stewardship Award Program.

Consisting of nearly 9,000 acres, Williamson Cattle Co. is home to 2,300 commercial Brangus cows. The Alabama location is used to breed replacement heifers for the Florida operation.

In addition to the cow-calf operation, Frank “Sonny” Williamson Jr., and his son, Frank “Wes” Williamson III, grow citrus in Florida and are developing a catfish farm in Alabama.

Because the Williamsons' Florida site sits on a basin that feeds the Everglades, water conservation practices are very important. They have worked to restore wetlands, allowing the water to return to a more natural cleansing cycle while enhancing wildlife habitat.

“They have taken a proactive approach to working with the public and are successful in helping others better understand how the cattle industry, conservation and the environment fit together.” says Dave Petty, Iowa cattle producer and chairman of the award selection committee.