Beef Jerky

2019 Beef Quality Assurance Award Winners

Casey Allison | December 18, 2019

Contact: Casey Allison, Director of Industry Relations, Iowa Beef Industry Council, 515-296-2305

At the 2019 Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit, the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) recognized Steve Rehder of 3-R Feedlots Inc., Bruce River, Katy Lippolis and Sheldon Livestock Sales Inc. for the 2019 Iowa Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards. The four recipients exemplify continual improvement for the beef industry by encouraging their fellow producers to implement BQA practices and leadership involvement in Iowa’s cattle industry. BQA practices, such as low-stress handling, thorough record-keeping and judicious antibiotic use show the beef industry’s daily commitment of proudly producing safe, wholesome and healthy beef.

Steve Rehder of 3-R Feedlots from Hawarden, Iowa, is the 2019 BQA Feedyard Award Recipient. Owned and managed by Steve Rehder alongside his son Trent and wife Shari. Rehder raises hogs and manages a feedlot where they finish multiple turns of cattle a year. He was an early adopter and participant when feedlot assessments were first implemented and has been steadfast in the utilization of BQA principles on the farm. Furthermore, he’s a hands-on leader and has assisted with planning for the Sioux Co. Feedlot Forum since the early 2000s, served as the President of the Sioux Co. Cattlemen’s Association multiple times and co-chairs the Sioux County Carcass Contest. A committed leader that has chaired the Iowa Beef Industry Council Board of Directors twice and currently serves on the Federation of State Beef Councils.

Bruce River of Maquoketa, Iowa, was the recipient of the 2019 BQA Cow-Calf Award. Bruce and his wife Chris have two sons, Peyton and Carter. Both sons grew up playing an active role in the day-to-day activities on the farm. Peyton has since returned to the family farm and Carter resides in Nashville where he works in finance and accounting. Bruce and his family manage their cows utilizing pasture and a dry lot system. The calves are retained on the farm and finished out through the family’s feedlot each year. They’re diligent managers that keep comprehensive records and have been longtime users of the CHAPS cow record-keeping systems and utilize a performance monitoring system in the feedlot. They’re proactive in implementing BQA principles, in particular, low-stress cattle handling practices. Bruce has been a valuable contributor in producer roundtables and extension think tanks--a few examples of his industry leadership. River is an outstanding producer that emulates best management practices the beef community is continually striving to uphold. 

From left to right: Casey Allison, Steve Rehder, Bruce River, Katy Lippolis and Janine Moore. Not pictured: Sheldon Livestock Sales Inc.  

The 2019 recipient of the BQA Educator Award was Katy Lippolis. Before assuming her current role as Iowa State Beef Cow-Calf Specialist and Assistant Professor, she completed a master’s program in beef systems management at Colorado State University where she became more deeply involved in information and research on beef cattle, including serving as the coordinator of the Colorado Beef Quality Assurance Program. Lippolis then attended Oregon State University for a doctoral program which solidified her interest in improving calf and feeder cattle performance through management and nutrition, specifically during weaning. Over the past two years, we have seen the demand for BQA trainings drastically increase and through a partnership with the Iowa Beef Center and their staff, the call to action has been answered. She was instrumental in the planning and preparations for the Regional Stockmanship and Stewardship event hosted in Ames this past summer. We are most thankful for her diligence in sharing of BQA programming here in Iowa, with her Iowa State students and producers alike.

The 2019 recipient of the Marketer Award was awarded to Sheldon Livestock Sales Incorporated. Their strong presence in the ag community is manifested through three barn locations in Iowa and South Dakota. Sheldon Livestock has been a strong supporter of the BQA program and has been proactive in working alongside their ISU Region 1 Beef Specialist, Beth Doran, to help increase customers’ awareness and accessibility to the BQA program. They have hosted multiple training sessions and have been accommodating in helping producers navigate the process. Additionally, they were one of the first barns to help develop and host ICA preconditioned feeder calf sales, health, age and source verified program. Livestock auction markets are a vital cog in the supply chain that enables Iowa’s ag economy to continue functioning and help drive a robust ag economy in the state. 

 “The Beef Quality Assurance program strives to build beef’s demand by maximizing consumer confidence in beef while exceeding their eating expectations. When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, we show our end users, consumers, that we care and we are capable,” said Casey Allison, 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’ plates 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