MENOMONIE, Wis. — Acknowledging their dedication to excellence within Wisconsin’s beef industry, the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association (WCA) honored four award recipients during the 2022 Summer Tour hosted in the Menomonie Area.
The 2022 Cattleman of the Year is Steve Springer of Linden, Wis. Springer is a third-generation beef farmer who has been in the cattle business for approximately 40 years. He runs a commercial cow-calf operation with nearly 250 cows. His high standards for genetics and management practices create high demand for his feeder cattle.
Always willing to help when needed, Springer is heavily involved in the industry as a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association (WCA), and Iowa County Cattlemen’s Association. He served on the board of directors for both the Wisconsin and Iowa County Cattlemen. Springer is Beef Quality Assurance certified and actively participates in both state and national cattlemen’s educational programs. The USDA recently selected Springer to serve on the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, commonly known as the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB). CBB is responsible for overseeing the collection of the Beef Checkoff and funding of Checkoff programs.
Jim and Roxanne Lund of K-Lund Angus near Woodville, Wis., received the Beef Quality Assurance Award. K-Lund is a commercial cow-calf operation with 170 pairs of Angus females. Spring calving occurs from March to April utilizing a specially designed hoop barn facility. Top-end steer calves are marketed each fall with the lighter steers and heifers being fed out to market locally as freezer beef. Jim and Roxanne structure their nutrition strategy to support fetal programming which maximizes growth and production later in life. With limited labor, the operation focuses on low-stress cattle handling and facilities to ensure cattle can be managed by only one or two people.
K-Lund Angus exemplifies a beef cattle operation that implements the best management practices in BQA on daily basis. The Lunds are diligent in implementing preventative health care with the cow herd year-round. They apply that low-stress handling through the weaning process to improve the health and performance of cattle.
Ryan Sterry of UW Extension shared these comments: “My experiences with Jim have been all positive. He takes innovative approaches with his cow-calf heard and has taken great care in building his reputation with buyers by consistently producing top-end feeder calves. Jim has welcomed several organizations hosting field days to demonstrate his cattle handling systems.”
For several years, Jim and Roxanne hosted the UW-River Falls Beef Production to help students see how they could implement these practices in the future.
Craig and Vickie Dunnum earned the 2022 Friend of the Cattlemen award after managing the WCA Steak Trailer for 3.5 years. The Dunnums operate an organic cow-calf operation near Westby, Wis. and sell most of their cattle locally as freezer beef.
There was a steep learning curve when Craig and Vickie took over the steak trailer as the previous managers had been in business for 12 years, but they excelled with the challenge. Craig and Vickie helped make updates to equipment and processes. In 2020, they faced the chaos of COVID-19, navigating event cancellations and the State Fair Drive-Thru. The Dunnums informed WCA they would like to retire at the end of 2021 but continued to help with two additional events in 2022 as the search for the new steak trailer manager continued. Brady Zuck, Steak Trailer Manager and WCA President, said their positive approach, can-do attitude and support for the cattlemen is irreplaceable.
The Environmental Stewardship Award went to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneer Farm. The UW-Platteville Pioneer Farm includes a herd of 50 Angus and Red Angus cows. They are also the site of the Wisconsin Beef Improvement Association, the longest-running continuous bull test in the United States. The herd provides hands-on training for students as well as provides the ability to do grazing and environmental research. A highlight is the incorporation of Managed Intensive Grazing. This includes grazing in riparian areas and creating the need for additional environmental considerations. Beef unit research includes pasture runoff and pathogens in runoff. Research projects address environmental, economic, and social issues identified by farmers and interest groups through a voluntary collaboration among producers, regulatory agencies, science and education institutions, and non-governmental organizations. They participate as part of Discovery Farms. All manure applied to Pioneer Farm fields is carefully monitored as part of our nutrient management plan, which is updated annually. Solid manure is composted in windrows and turned regularly using a pull-type compost turner.
Manure samples are taken prior to application to determine the nutrient contents and proper application rates. In many cases, the composted manure is sold to local farmers and community members for use on fields and gardens.
The Awards were presented following the WCA Annual Meeting at ALCIVIA-Menomonie Feed Mill. Additional stops during the 2022 WCA Summer Tour included K-Lund Angus and SKOR Cattle Company near Clear Lake, Wis. WCA partnered with the Northern Wisconsin Beef Producers Association (NWBPA) for the event.
— Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association