News Releases

Date: 2/5/2009

Title: 2009 BQA Award Winners Announced

PHOENIX – 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, Neb. and Jim Docheff of Diamond D Dairy in Longmont, Colo. were honored at an awards luncheon held earlier today at the 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 feedyard in Cozad, Neb.

Docheff maintains similar strict controls in his operation in Longmont, Colo. “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 system-wide 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, adherences to “on-site” BQA principles, leadership activities and the sustainability of the business as a whole.

Safeway Inc. is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America based on sales. The company operates 1,743 stores in the United States and Canada. The company's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY. Learn more at

Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation is a leading supplier of fresh, frozen and value-added beef, pork and turkey. The business is a subsidiary of Cargill, an international provider of food, agricultural and risk management products and services. With 160,000 employees in 67 countries, Cargill is committed to using its knowledge and experience to collaborate with customers to help them succeed. For more information, visit and

The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.

Consumer-focused and producer-directed, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and its state beef council partners are the marketing organization for the largest segment of the food and fiber industry.

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