Beef Jerky

Kennedy, Peterson, Schwab win 2018 Iowa Beef Quality Assurance Awards

Rusty Gibbs | December 18, 2018

Contact: Rusty Gibbs, Director of Industry Relations, 515-296-2305

Kennedy Cattle Company: Steve Rehder, IBIC Chair; Zak and Emily Kennedy, 2018 Iowa Feedlot Award; and Rusty Gibbs, Director of Industry Relations IBIC / Iowa BQA Coordinator.

Altoona, Iowa – During the 2018 Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit, the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) recognized Kennedy Cattle Company, Peterson Farms, and Denise Schwab for the 2018 Iowa Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards. The three recipients exemplify continual improvement for the beef industry, encourage fellow producers to implement BQA practices, operate sustainable cattle businesses, utilize low-stress, effective stockmanship handling practices, and display the beef industry’s daily commitment of proudly producing safe, wholesome and healthy beef.

Kennedy Cattle Company of Atlantic, Iowa is the 2018 Iowa BQA Feedyard Award recipient. Owned and managed by Zak and Emily Kennedy and Mitch Kennedy. The Kennedy’s have been involved in the beef industry from a young age as a part of their family's cow- calf operations.  Kennedy Cattle Company is primarily a custom feeding operation feeding cattle for customers from across the nation. Along with company owned cattle, a 120 head cow-calf operation is maintained with their parents Steve and Judy Kennedy. Cattle are backgrounded for resale or fed for harvest. They finish around 3000 cattle a year and background another 1200 -1500 cattle per year. Their management and attention to detail ensure the highest quality beef. Management techniques include but are not limited to: training of all employees, acclimating calves to their feedyard with low-stress, effective stockmanship handling practices, implementing BQA Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) throughout their family’s operation with the BQA Feedyard Assessment, working closely with their local veterinarian, and sharing information with surrounding beef producers.

Peterson Farms: Steve Rehder, IBIC Chair; Curt & Kaylene Peterson and their family, 2018 Iowa Cow-Calf Award; Rusty Gibbs, Director of Industry Relations IBIC / Iowa BQA Coordinator.

Peterson Farms is owned and operated by Curt and Kaylene Peterson of Eddyville, Iowa, along with their 3 children, Makenzie, Abby and Kylie Peterson, received the 2018 Iowa BQA Cow-Calf Award. The Peterson Farm dates back to 1959 when Curt's father, Gerald Peterson, purchased the farm which was primarily a commercial cow herd - complimented with a farm-to-finish operation with approximately 100 sows and row crops. Curt took on a managerial role in 1980 and eventually became the owner several years later. Today the 385-acre farm is still family-owned and operated, and the family runs a purebred Simmental cattle herd of 40 head. The Peterson family has implemented low-stress, effective stockmanship handling practices that have been valuable to their family farm. In addition, the Peterson family works closely with their local veterinarian on their herd health program.

The 2018 BQA Educator Award winner is Denise Schwab. Denise is the regional Extension Beef Specialist covering Northeast Iowa for Iowa State University. Denise is an experienced and well-known educator for Iowa State University and the Iowa Beef Center. In her role as Beef Specialist she brings research-based information and education to the beef industry in the region while working closely with a team of five other regional specialists and campus staff. She has a passion for low stress cattle handling and stockmanship education, having facilitated numerous events that bring national experts to her region. In fiscal year 2017-2018 she has certified over 1400 people in BQA events hosted in Northeast Iowa. This is certainly among the national leaders in volume of producers by a single individual over that time frame.

Denise Schwab Denise Schwab, NE Iowa Beef Specialist, 2018 Iowa BQA Educator Award Winner.

Denise Schwab, NE Iowa Beef Specialist, 2018 Iowa BQA Educator Award Winner. 

“One of Beef Quality Assurance program’s mission is to build beefs demand by maximizing consumer confidence in beef while exceeding their eating expectations. When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, they assure their market steers, heifers, cows, and bulls are the best they can be,” said Rusty Gibbs, Director of Industry Relations for the Iowa Beef Industry Council and State BQA Coordinator. “The BQA awards are a way for the National Beef Checkoff Program through the Iowa Beef Industry Council to recognize the outstanding men and women in Iowa who put great tasting beef on our consumers’ plate each and every day. It is imperative that we recognize the education and application of these practices and stewardship that is involved within the beef industry daily. This year’s award recipients are a testament of our beef farmers caring for their land and livestock while being involved in their local communities. Through their leadership and implementation of BQA on their operations, the future of the Iowa beef industry is bright.”

For additional information on the awards or the Iowa BQA program, please visit


About the Iowa Beef Industry Council:  The Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1.50-per-head beef checkoff.  Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand.  For more information, visit