Raising the Bar Higher…

I have several favorite quotes that I am notorious for reciting.  My girls hear them so often that as soon as I start to say the words, they chime in with me.  Prior to instigating my “push up rule”, the reciting of the quotes seemed to be automatically connected with eye rolling—now they are simply accompanied by dramatic sighs…


  • It doesn’t matter how good you are, you can always get better!
  • Perfect practice makes perfect performance!
  • Take the time it takes to do it right!

I not only pontificate about these quotes, but I also take the words to heart.  I have pretty high standards, and am constantly pushing myself, my family, and my feed yard crew to continuously raise the bar higher.

I became involved with the Beef Quality Assurance program when I moved to Nebraska in 1997 because I wanted to learn how to understand my cattle and offer them good care.  I recognized early on that good consistent care led to healthy animals and quality beef.  That is what BQA is all about.

The Tyson Farm Check program is intended to be a natural extension of the BQA program and will include an auditing component to verify daily animal care.  It raises the bar one step higher in order to validate the responsible treatment of food animals.

His care is important to me...

His care is important to me…

My involvement in both BQA and Tyson’s Farm Check program stems from my commitment to universally improve care for food animals.  It is rooted in my belief that farmers need to strive for continual improvement through a focus on good daily animal care practices.

I will feel a tremendous amount of pride for my fellow farmers when these programs touch every bovine that is raised in the United States.  Until then, I will keep working for their widespread adoption because I believe that the sustainability of animal agriculture is intrinsically tied to responsible care.


In the meantime, I will continue to raise the bar even higher on my farm through participation in the Progressive Beef QSA program.  While doing a good job brings me pride, Anne’s standards require always searching for excellence.  The commitment of the Progressive Beef program to outstanding animal welfare, food safety and sustainability standards allow me to continuously challenge myself and my crew.

I began implementing the Progressive Beef QSA program last December, and I have been thrilled with the incredible attention to detail and resulting improvements that I see every day at the feed yard.  I have always been proud of my crew’s dedication to quality care, but we have raised the bar even higher in the last seven months.

Auditing protocols and paperwork...

Auditing protocols and paperwork…

We had our first audit on the 6th of May and were scored on a multitude of things–a few of them include:

  • Water Tank Cleaning
  • Feed Quality
  • Cattle Handling
  • Animal Health (daily care, extreme weather care, general welfare practices)
  • Proper administration of animal health products (vaccines, antibiotics, beta agonists)
  • Equipment and feed yard cleanliness
  • Cattle living space comfort

    Checking feed bunks, water tanks, and cattle home pens...

    Checking feed bunks, water tanks, and cattle home pens…

The final audit document was 20 pages long and the audit itself took about 11 hours.  I am incredibly proud to report that my crew scored 223 points out of a total possible 228.5.   This qualified us for the “Excellent” rating.  We will have a second audit later this summer as we continually strive to raise the bar higher.

Aristotle seems to always be whispering in my ear:

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

What do you do in your own life to raise the bar higher?


Filed under General, Progressive Beef QSA Program

2 responses to “Raising the Bar Higher…

  1. I love your push-up rule… I will have to remember that 🙂

    • It is an awesome rule and incredibly effective! Some of the parents of the kids that I coach on swim team have instigated the rule in their houses also 🙂

      I hope that all is well back east!

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