Nebraska BQA Nearly Sweeps National BQA Awards
This year, the Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program was the highlight of the Closing General Session “A BQA Celebration” at the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention.
Since 2009, the National BQA program has utilized the National BQA awards to recognized cattle producers across the nation for their BQA achievements. The program recognizes producers and operations from the following sectors: cow-calf, feedyard, marketer, and dairy. Additionally, the educator award recognizes an individual who has been dedicated to the BQA program throughout their career.
This year, the Nebraska BQA program made a big splash at the presentation of the 2023 National BQA awards winning four of the five categories: cow-calf, feedyard, dairy, and educator. This is the first time in the history of the National BQA awards program that a single state has won more than two awards in a single year.
“It’s a great honor for our state and producers to receive recognition at this prestigious National level,” said Jesse Fulton, Director of Nebraska BQA. “When I came on board with Nebraska BQA, I guaranteed Nebraska beef industry stakeholders, that Nebraska producers would be recognized for their BQA efforts and that the Nebraska BQA program would be looked up on as one of the nation’s most successful state programs. While this year’s success at the National BQA awards was a great achievement, we still have more work ahead of us.”
2023 Cow-Calf Operation of the Year BQA Award Winner – Wilson Flying Diamond Ranch
Wilson Flying Diamond Ranch was founded in 1888 on the western edge of the Nebraska Sandhills. It is currently owned and operated by the fourth (Blaine Wilson) and fifth (Jaclyn Wilson) generation where they run Red Angus and composite cows. The ranch backgrounds calves before either marketing privately, holding for retained ownership through a local feeder, or marketed through the sale barn.
In the fall of 2019, Jaclyn, started Flying Diamond Beef (FDB), a direct-to-consumer beef business where in 2020 they sent over 60 head of Wilson Ranch feeders to be processed and sold the beef product directly to the consumer. In 2021, FDB was asked to participate in a project that is the first of its kind in the industry where they are utilizing genomic data, microchips, and facial recognition to tokenize a group of feedlot steers that would be offered to consumers.
Owners and operators, Blaine and Jaclyn Wilson have both been heavily involved throughout the beef industry at both the state and national level. Ms. Jaclyn Wilson has been asked to lobby on behalf of the beef industry numerous times in Washington D.C. Ms. Wilson also actively shares their operation’s story by writing weekly editorials that can reach over 80,000 producers and shares daily ranch stories and practices through a host of social media sites. On social media alone, Ms. Wilson influences over 20,000 producers and consumers. Her passion and work in advocating for the industry is undeniable.
Wilson Flying Diamond Ranch has not only adopted and implemented the BQA program on their operation but use the BQA program to advocate and tell the story of the beef lifecycle to consumers across the country.
2023 Feedyard of the Year BQA Award Winner – Darr Feedlot Inc.
Darr Feedlot is considered one of the most progressive outstanding members of Nebraska’s beef industry and a leading advocate for the beef industry as a whole. The commitment of the employees at Darr Feedlot to the BQA program throughout their diverse, multi-segmented operation is among the nation’s elite. Darr Feedlot demonstrates their qualifications for the 2023 BQA Feedyard award in multiple capacities, each with strong BQA implications.
Darr Feedlot operates feed mills out of two main yards with a current feeding capacity of 48,000 head, and utilizes satellite yards for specialized programs, bull development, and calf growing programs. Darr Feedlot focuses on adopting and implementing BQA guidelines and best management practices.
Darr Feedlot recognizes the opportunity to protect and promote the integrity of the beef industry by encouraging the adoption and implementation of the BQA program. Because of this, Darr Feedlot has actively advocated to customer ranchers and backgrounders about BQA guidelines and best management practices to improve herd health and beef product quality. Darr Feedlot also requires all employees to hold BQA certification and participate in annual employee trainings related to BQA guidelines and best management practices.
What sets Darr apart is their willingness to meet consumer demands by participating in third party auditing, participating in many value-added programs, and testing new industry cutting-edge technologies that helps Darr Feedlot ensure they are providing the best management and animals welfare. Darr Feedlot also understands the concept of being stewards of the land in which they harvest their feed ingredients. The feedlot utilizes cover crops on ground that was used to grow feedstuffs to prevent erosion and protect the soil nutrient status. Besides working with local farmers to source feedstuffs for the feedyard, Darr Feedlot also works with local farmers to utilize manure from the feedlot onto fields needing additional nutrient management. This partnership with the local farmers and ranchers maximizes the returns for these operations and brings more dollars into the local economy.
2023 Dairy of the Year BQA Award Winner – Temme Agribusiness
This is the first time the state of Nebraska has ever nominated a dairy for a BQA award. The operation’s commitment to both the dairy and beef industry is unmatched. While not only working to ensure they produce a high-quality dairy product, the operation also implements a beef-on-dairy component into their business model to improve the quality of the beef product of unretained calves.
This additional practice shows the “skin in the game” commitment Temme Agribusiness has for both the beef and dairy industries.
When it comes to ensuring BQA and FARM standard operating procedures and best management practices are followed on the operation, Temme Agribusiness incorporates strenuous employee training programs. These training programs help better the workforce employed at Temme Agribusiness by making sure they truly understand the day-to-day duties related to their job. By making the employees successful at their jobs, Temme Agribusiness knows this in turn will truly benefit the quality of life for the animals.
Being true industry leaders and advocates for both the beef and dairy industry, Temme Agribusiness demonstrates an open-door policy on the dairy for industry tours. Time and time again Temme Agribusiness have opened their operation for governors, congressmen, nutritionists, and social media influencers. Additionally, Doug and Mary Temme dedicate their time to the industry by serving in positions on the Nebraska Beef Council board and Midwest Dairy.
Temme Agribusiness constant support to already serve the industry is demonstrated by supporting youth ag associations, participating in consumer/ag focused events, and working to have local beef served in community schools. They are unrivaled in their commitment to the beef and dairy industry, and their commitment to the National BQA and FARM programs.
2023 Educator of the Year BQA Award Winner – Tom Noffsinger, DVM
Dr. Tom Noffsinger’s decades of work in the area of BQA has not only been instrumental in spreading the BQA message across the nation, but he has also been an important player in bringing to light beef industry issues, and ultimately contributing to successes in those same areas through his dedicated work focusing on low stress cattle handling and animal welfare.
Dr. Noffsinger began his career as a practicing veterinarian in Benkelman, Nebraska in 1973. In 1994, he was approached by BQA pioneer, Dr. Dee Griffen, to help establish a veterinary continuing education program to assist veterinarians in acquiring further education without having to leave practice. His dedication to education led him to be a true industry leader for the BQA program.
Prior to state led BQA initiatives, Dr. Noffsinger was part of a group of veterinarians already working with packers and processors to combat violative residues and injection site lesions plaguing the industry. Once state BQA programs came to fruition, Dr. Noffsinger was one of the first “Train the Trainers” in the state of Nebraska.
Working alongside and teaching and learning from industry greats such as, Dr. Temple Grandin, Dr. Ron Gill, Curt Pate, and Bud Williams, Dr. Noffsinger has become a household name in the area of low stress stockmanship. Dr. Noffsinger’s passion for low stress cattle handling has led him across the country conducting low stress cattle handling demonstrations.
Today acting as a veterinarian consultant for the company he founded in 2009, Professional Animal Consultation (PAC), Dr. Noffsinger continues to be an advocate for not only the beef industry, but the BQA program. Dr. Noffsinger works with all his clients to answer the question of “why BQA” from a veterinarian standpoint. He has been influential in ensuring his veterinarian colleagues at PAC also understand the importance of the BQA program and low stress cattle handing education.
Dr. Noffsinger is unmatched in both his “boots on the ground” approach to BQA education and his commitment to low stress stockmanship. His exceptional approach to educating producers on BQA principles to a broad audience has undoubtedly served as an example of what a BQA educator should be.
Do you know an operation (Beef Cow-Calf, Feedyard, Dairy, Marketer) or educator in the state of Nebraska you’d like to nominate, or would you like to have your own operation nominated for a National BQA Award? Let us know! Contact Nebraska BQA at firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Interviews with the authors of BeefWatch newsletter articles become available throughout the month of publication and are accessible at https://go.unl.edu/podcast.