On Feb. 3, during the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) Convention and Trade Show in New Orleans, the winners of the 2023 Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards were announced. The National BQA Awards annually recognize outstanding beef producers, marketers and educators.
“The 2023 winners exemplify high-quality animal care and handling principles as part of their day-to-day operations and are continually improving through BQA,” said Josh White, senior executive director of producer education and sustainability at NCBA. “As good stewards of the cattle industry, they also encourage others to implement BQA principles.”
The 2023 BQA Award winners are:
2023 BQA Cow-Calf Award
Wilson Flying Diamond Ranch, Nebraska
Located on the western edge of the Nebraska Sandhills since 1888, the family behind the Wilson Flying Diamond Ranch has passed down its forward-thinking mindset for generations. The ranch is now owned and operated by the family’s fourth and fifth generations, Blaine Wilson and his daughter Jaclyn. The Wilson family has transformed its operation of more than 800 head of Red Angus and composite cattle into a quintessential example of proper conservation and environmental management. The ranch adheres to strict stewardship principles focused on pasture rotation, facilitated by computer programming and mapping. The ranch also uses year-round grazing management to ensure they are continuing to improve the land in the fragile Sandhills.
2023 BQA Feedyard Award
Darr Feedlot, Nebraska
Founded in 1982 as a 2,500-head custom feedlot by local beef producers, Darr Feedlot has grown extensively over the years, now operating two main yards with a current feeding capacity of 48,000 head. The team at Darr Feedlot recognizes its responsibility to protect and promote the integrity of the beef industry and meets that challenge head-on by advocating for the adoption and implementation of the BQA program. From the basics of training employees on the significance of health management to developing facility designs, BQA principles are at the core of daily operations. Darr Feedlot not only executes BQA practices in their operation but also encourages their customer cattle suppliers to do the same.
2023 BQA Marketer Award
Fresno Livestock Commission, California
Owned and operated by father-daughter pair Phil and Cindy Tews since 1990, Fresno Livestock caters to the small, everyday grower selling 10 or fewer calves per year. With a passion for advocacy, Cindy takes a hands-on approach to implement BQA at Fresno Livestock. Located within a county that has 1 million people, Fresno Livestock Commission also has the notable opportunity to educate and engage with a diverse population. Cindy and her staff spend untold hours visiting with buyers and sellers alike. They help facilitate relationships with veterinarians, haulers and even provide a BQA-certified crew for hire during branding, vaccinating, shipping and other activities.
2023 BQA Educator Award
Dr. Tom Noffsinger, Nebraska
As a longstanding industry leader and one of the first “Train the Trainers” in the state of Nebraska, Dr. Tom Noffsinger, DVM, has a well-established history with BQA. Noffsinger acts as a veterinary consultant for the company he founded in 2009, Professional Animal Consultation (PAC). In his role, Noffsinger works with other employed consulting vets to push the BQA message and demonstrate how adopting BQA's best management practices help producers' bottom lines. Throughout his practicing and consulting career, Noffsinger works to explain the “whys” of veterinary medicine and how the “why” can influence beef quality.
Award winners are selected by a committee comprised of BQA-certified representatives from universities, state beef councils, sponsors and affiliated groups, who assess nominations based on their demonstrated commitment to BQA practices, their service as leaders in the beef industry and their dedication to promoting the BQA message to grow consumer confidence. For more information about each of the award winners, visit the BQA website.
—Excerpts from a Beef Checkoff news release