Downey Ranch Inc.
Joe Carpenter & Barb Downey
“As you learn more, it makes you want to be better.”
This is how Barb Downey of Downey Ranch Inc. describes their experience with Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training. Barb and her husband Joe Carpenter co-manage a registered and commercial Angus ranch near Wamego, Kansas.
Both Barb and Joe graduated from K-State with degrees in animal science and have had lifelong involvement in the farm and livestock industries. On the ranch, they continually strive to produce a good, solid range cow that requires minimum assistance with the idea that each year that cow should go on to produce an excellent replacement or market animal.
Barb’s family started the ranch in 1986, which Joe became a part of after they were married in 1990. They are both active in the operation not only because their love of animals and the outdoors, but the everyday challenges that the lifestyle presents.
“Being on the ranch is a great way to use both intellectual and physical skills,” Downey said. “The rhythm of the calendar seasons may be the same, but there is always something new to learn or improve.”
Involvement in the Kansas beef industry outside of their own operation has also been of importance to them. Joe has just finished his term as Wabaunsee County director and role in the chairman circle as a part of the Kansas Livestock Association where he was part of the animal health committee. Barb currently serves as the chairperson for the Kansas Beef Council, which administers check-off dollars for the state of Kansas.
In working to improve daily operations, the Downey Ranch has become involved with BQA. Joe and Barb as well as their two daughters are all BQA certified. They work to incorporate those skills learned from the training into their ranch practices, which encourages them to look for other ways to improve.
“The end focus is the good quality breeding animal and finished beef,” she added. “And putting safe, wholesome, nutritious beef on the consumer’s plate.”
One example of applied efficiencies on the ranch is how they monitor drug administration, withdrawals and injections to animals. They keep computerized records of these procedures, which can be accessed directly from their smartphones.
Downey admires the BCI’s efforts to encourage partnerships between veterinarians, producers, feedlots and packing plants with the end goal to provide a healthy eating experience for consumers.
“When you get people excited about it and acknowledge professionalism, it makes us wonder what else we can do a little bit better.”