This week, beef producers were honored with the checkoff’s annual national Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) award, created to recognize outstanding beef and dairy producers from across the country who incorporate BQA principles as part of the day-to-day activities on their operations.
2014 winners were: Mike and Anne Wirtz, TZ Cattle Company of Brenham, Texas (beef); Keith York, Merry-Water Farms of Lake Geneva, Wisc.(dairy).
Mike and Anne Wirtz, TZ Cattle Company of Brenham, Texas
TZ Cattle Company, owned by Mike and Anne Wirtz, is an integrated cow-calf operation. The base herd is purebred Santa Gertrudis. The commercial herd is Santa Gertrudis x Hereford and Santa Gertrudis x Angus. Calves are pre-conditioned using a modified Vac-45 program, raised on grass to 800 pounds, then sent to the feedlot. Calves are sold on the grid or contracted on a natural program. All are age, process, and source verified. Some have gone to Japan or South Korea. Sometimes, weather forces us to sell early in pre-conditioned stocker sales.
High-quality beef begins with breeding and genetics. Angus and Hereford are utilized in a terminal cross to produce high quality carcasses. Santa Gertrudis is necessary in our climate and its hybrid vigor adds to growth and carcass value. The BOA program, when done properly, enhances the carcass value due to low sickness and no blemishes in the beef itself. Safe handling techniques reduce stress, help gain, and reduce bruising. This helps to produce a quality product to ensure consumer demand due to an excellent dining experience.
"The National Beef Quality Assurance program began in 1986 to counter drug residue and carcass blemishes. As a practicing large animal veterinarian and producer, I felt we must be at the forefront. Since we did a lot of herd work for our clients, we had the opportunity to teach our veterinary associates (4), lay staff (12), and our clients about BOA and why they should use BOA recommended practices," Mike says. "We started by training staff on our own animals about handling, vaccinations, product labels, and vaccine handling. At the clinic and the ranch, we have good facilities. We follow label directions on medications and protect vaccines from the elements. Any transportation is in clean, uncrowded trailers. All hot-shots have been retired. What is unique? Through my practice, I have trained, or at least exposed, many veterinarians, clients, and fellow ranchers to the benefits of BOA."
Learn more about all of the BQA award winners, including Mike and Anne Wirtz, here.
Source: Beef Checkoff