BEDFORD, Pa. — The PA Beef Council recently recognized this year’s Beef Quality Assurance award winners. Learn more about Logan Family Farms LLC, the feedlot winner, and Dennis Cramer and family, the cow-calf operator honoree.
Logan Family Farms LLC, Westmoreland County, is a diversified cattle, crop and forage farm located fewer than 20 miles outside downtown Pittsburgh.
Established in 1894, the Pennsylvania Turnpike construction in the 1950s spilt the Logan farm with crop land and pasture on one side of the turnpike and the farm homestead is on the other side.
While the farm split presented unique challenges to the Logan family, it also offered opportunities. They began selling fresh baked pies and breads to the construction crews at a roadside stand. Today, the Logan’s sell beef, pork and sweet corn at the original homestead and also at local farmer’s markets.
When Tom and Joanne Logan’s sons, Ben and Jacob, the fourth generation, joined the business in 2008, they added 2,000 rented acres of corn, soybean, small grains and forage corps. They also built a finishing barn for 250 cattle.
Their unique location challenged the Logan family to fill their feedlot with homegrown calves. While the farm expansion increased brood cows from 25 to 60, they were limited by pasture resources. By sourcing calves from local producers, they maximized their feedlot. Co-mingling cattle though forced them to consider new health protocols.
Their farm veterinarian helped them develop a routine vaccination and inoculation schedule following BQA protocol. With the vaccination schedule, the Logan’s experienced a 25 percent decrease in aborted pregnancies in their brood cows and healthier feeder cattle.
In addition to the vaccination schedule, all cattle are quarantined, preconditioned and vaccinated prior to co-mingling. The 60-day quarantine, combined with a preconditioning area and vaccinations, decreased feedlot cattle treatments by nearly 75 percent.
The open-sided building allows for excellent ventilation and includes both improved manure management and cattle handling systems. The cows are more comfortable, especially when traveling through the chute, and the cattlemen experience less stress.
With an expanded operation and improved production systems, the family targeted the emerging “foodie” city of Pittsburgh to market their beef. They rely on BQA to help tell their story to customers.
Wholesale markets have requested BQA signage to showcase beef quality to their customers. The Logan’s also give farm tours to customers, including executive chefs of high-end restaurants. Those chefs are impressed with the family’s care, management practices and production techniques.
Cramer Farms, Huntingdon County, is a first-generation farm owned and operated by Denver (Dennie) Cramer and his wife Debbie Shawley. Cramer began farming with a few feeder steers in high school and has expanded his herd through the years.
Today, the farm includes 50 registered Angus and commercial cow-calf pairs. Cramer focuses on sound genetics and producing several top quality seedstock bulls and replacement females.
Cramer supplies replacement heifers to his customers and markets his backgrounded calves through the Meyer Natural Foods program. That program allows Cramer to obtain a premium on calves that meet the Meyer standard. He sells backgrounded calves between 725-750 pounds to feedlots that finish out his calves.
The BQA program is an integral part of the production cycle at Cramer Farms. BQA standards and principals are an important part of Cramer’s herd management success.
Cramer notes several reasons for implementing BQA on the farm.
- Animal traceability and tracking through excellent records. Cramer has a strong commitment to record keeping and retention.
- BQA has uncovered new avenues of marketing for Cramer Farms (ex. Heifer Development Program and PA Bull Test Sale).
- Maintaining a positive image is important to Cramer Farms. The BQA program is another step in their meticulous record keeping and farm maintenance program.
- Healthy, productive cattle produced under BQA practices provide a positive experience for seedstock customers as well as stocker cattle buyers.
- Under BQA practices, Cramer Farms has been able to maintain excellent herd health.
- Cramer Farms takes great pride in their record keeping and management system. All treatments are documented by the person administering and then the record is manually transferred to a permanent hard copy.
- Animals are handled primarily by Cramer, but when others help, they understand the importance of working animals in a calm manner for ease and low stress.
- In the summer, cattle are worked in a rotational grazing system. This has helped the quiet cattle down tremendously as they are accustomed to pasture movement.
- Cramer Farms is committed to a positive beef industry perception. The farm sits along a major through-way, where the publics can see the animals on pasture. The cows are kept clean, pastures and farm buildings are properly maintained and stocking density is kept at a correct level.
Cramer is proud when neighbors or tourists pass by the farm and recognize it because the farm’s clean and well-maintained. The cattle are managed the same way. To Cramer Farms, that’s the commitment to BQA that consumers want from the program.
Cramer Farms believes in supporting 4-H. Dennie markets steers to 4-H members and sponsors County Bred awards for the Huntingdon County Fair, encouraging young producers to exhibit their own genetics at the fair and learn more about BQA.
For more information about the BQA program or the annual award recognition, contact Courtney Cowden, BQA Coordinator, at email@example.com.
To learn more about the Pennsylvania Beef Council, visit www.pabeef.org.
— Pennsylvania Beef Council