2009 Beef Quality Assurance Award winners announced
Two outstanding producers were named the 2009 Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Award winners for their exceptional day-to-day focus on quality, safety and wholesomeness. Anne Burkholder of Will Feed Inc. in Cozad, NE, and Jim Docheff of Diamond D Dairy in Longmont, CO, were honored at an awards luncheon held as part of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s 2009 Cattle Industry Convention. Funded in part by the Beef Checkoff Program, the BQA Awards program is also supported by Safeway, on behalf of its Rancher’s Reserve beef brand, and Cargill.
Each winner runs an operation in which BQA is thoroughly and painstakingly implemented. “I have monthly sit down meetings with all of my employees and we go over what is expected as far as BQA is concerned,” says Burkholder, who runs a small feed yard. Docheff maintains similar strict controls in his operation. “Our pride and dedication to meeting consumer demands is as important as the milk and meat that we provide at our family dinner table,” he says. “It was difficult to choose just two winners because beef and dairy producers have always watched over and cared for the animals they supervise,” according to Dee Griffin, DVM, associate professor at the University of Nebraska’s Great Plains Veterinary Education Center and one of the BQA Award’s supporters.
“We all recognize that our livelihoods depend on the health and well-being of the cattle in the U.S. cattle herd. Good animal husbandry and good business go hand in hand.” Safeway and Cargill officials say they are proud to help recognize producers who go the extra mile to make sure their quality and safety efforts are documented and monitored. “BQA helps assure that thanks to quality animals, we’re able to operate at the highest levels in our plants,” according to Ken Bull, vice president of cattle procurement at Cargill. “It’s a systemwide devotion that consistently assures the best beef for the tables of consumers throughout the United States.”
Jim Sheeran, vice president of corporate meat for Safeway, agrees. “We’re with these producers 100 percent when it comes to assuring quality beef,” he says. “Having the beef cattle industry behind us with their BQA program means a lot.” A common trait among all contest entrants was a strong desire to continually improve BQA on their operations while encouraging others to implement the program. Judges for the 2009 BQA Award considered, among other attributes, adherence to “on-site” BQA principles, leadership activities, and the sustainability of the business as a whole. — WLJ