“We are here to take the best care of the animals that we can. We are driven to this. Everybody has a calling in their life, and you definitely have to have a calling to be in this industry and be involved in it.” – Brad Jones
Brad Jones is a fourth-generation cattle rancher in Wiggins, Mississippi. Brad is the owner of Bluff Creek Cattle Company and is a certified Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) trainer, helping his own ranch and other ranches learn the best practices for animal health and handling. Brad has seen the benefits of BQA at home on his own ranch as well as those throughout the state who he has helped.
“Beef quality assurance means being proactive, instead of reactive. It's looking ahead for the things we can do to make life easier for our animals, which will in turn make life a lot easier for us along the way, from a standpoint of our health, and nutrition, our handling practices, it just makes a lot of sense.”
“It's about improving the beef industry as a whole along the way. It's about encouragement for us, and others around us, to take what we do every day, and continually seek to grow, and improve on.”
“When I think about the Beef Quality Assurance Program and what it's done for us and what I see it doing for others around us, the right way is the only way in terms of taking care of our animals.”
“When I hear somebody say beef comes from factories or use the term factory farming, I invite them to come and check out our 500-acre “factory” we have around here. We are multi-generational, and family based. Yes, there are things we do from a business and economic standpoint, where you might refer to us as a corporation at times. But what we do out here every day, feet on the ground, boots in the mud, you know, we are family farming at its core.”
“We voluntarily participate in Beef Quality Assurance Program, and it has been tremendous in helping us improve what we do. BQA made us sit back and look at being way more proactive instead of reactive in everything we do, you just can't overstress how important the little things are. My best description there is when you do things slow you become fast, and when you do things fast you become slow.”
“When I think about things that we have learned or been impressed with through the Beef Quality Assurance program, is the livestock handling perspective. It's always been taught to me through my family, and others I've learned from, how we take care of our stock. But seeing that put into words, put into pictures, in a classroom type setting, how we can take that and share it with others in a fashion that they can then apply it on their farms and ranches, that has been really big with me.”
“One way that we care for animals that people outside the industry might not know about, is it's a 24 hour a day job. We're up and outside the house by 5:00 every morning. If it means rain in the afternoon, or a family event, ball practice, or a church event going on that brings us in late, the animals get fed before we go to bed. Even if that's 10:00 at night. It's a 24 hour a day job maintaining and taking care of our animals.”
Between 6-12 months of age, cattle spend time at stocker and backgrounder farms and ranches where they graze on a variety of pastures. Here they gain weight and convert forage and grass into lean protein.