WCA Annual Awards

Each year Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association honors a Cattleman of the Year and Friend of Cattle at Winter Conference.  

New this year WCA and WBC will be honoring a BQA and Environmental Stewardship Awards.

Nominations can be made by any WCA member and are due by Dec. 21, 2018. Click here: Previous WCA Award Winners History

2019 WCA Award nomination form


This award honors a cattleman (producer) from Wisconsin that has excelled in various areas of the state’s industry and exemplifies the ideals of WCA.  Areas of excellence may include accomplishments within a beef or dairy operation including seedstock or commercial production,  recognition for cattle exhibited on a state or national level, cattle achieving recognition in a performance test or other marketing programs.  Other award criteria can include service to the Wisconsin Beef Industry through involvement in local, state, and national organizations such as WCA, WI Beef Council, World Beef Expo, or CBB.  

Beef Quality Assurance Award 

This award will be given to producers who have implemented BQA practices on the farm, have helped in the promotion of the BQA program in Wisconsin and helped improve animal care practices for the beef and/or dairy industry.  They must have an up to date BQA certification in order to qualify.  This award is sponsored by Wisconsin Beef Council



This award honors an organization or individual that has gone above and beyond to support the Wisconsin Beef Industry such as the Steak Trailer, legislative areas, educational events, or other activities.  Involvement and support to the state’s beef industry may also include support to producers in the state or other organizations/events such as the Wisconsin Beef Council, Wisconsin State Fair, UW Extension or other academic institutions.  Award criteria are broad and open-ended to allow for the selection of any deserving recipient that has benefited WCA, individual cattlemen, and the WI Beef Industry as a whole.

Wisconsin Environmental Stewardship Award 

 The award recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship practices and conservation achievements of Wisconsin cattle producers.  At the national level these awardees have been commended for their commitment to protecting the environment and improving fish and wildlife habitats while operating profitable cattle operations. Wisconsin Environmental Stewardship Award The award recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship practices and conservation achievements of Wisconsin cattle producers.  At the national level these awardees have been commended for their commitment to protecting the environment and improving fish and wildlife habitats while operating profitable cattle operations.  This award is sponsored by Wisconsin Beef Council.


2018 WCA Awards

Wildcat Award


BJ got his start in the Hereford business as a 12-year old kid from the suburbs.  He and his parents had little working knowledge about what it took to raise cattle but were determined to learn all they could.  He purchased his first show heifer and attended his first JNHE in 1984 in Des Moines. BJ and family have been actively involved in WI Hereford Association and then in 2006 BJ became the co-advisor of the Wisconsin Junior Hereford Association.

BJ asked Sondra Brancel to co-chair the efforts to host the 2016 Junior National Hereford Expo in Madison.  Sondra was happy to accept this role with BJ she said  “I had the opportunity to work with someone who is as passionate as anyone in this organization about creating a memorable experience for all the families from across this entire country attending junior nationals. He does is to the best of his ability and I couldn’t be more proud to have worked along side him over these last few years of planning and preparation.”

Dr. BJ and Kim Jones own the family enterprise Wildcat Cattle Company Wildcat Cattle Company located in Darlington, WI along with their children Baily, Brett, Riley, Lauren, Brady, and Nicholas. BJ currently works as a large animal veterinarian at the Central Hill Veterinary Clinic.  Kim works as in independent Marketing Consultant and the kids are instrumental in running the show string. And the children are an integral part in the family cattle operation.

Matt Award


Matt is described by his cattle friends as an innovator that puts his ideas into action. He has spent his career trying to make every diversified venture in the beef industry profitable. From Holstein stocker cattle to custom feeding bulls, tonight’s honoree Matt Breneman, has done his best for Wisconsin’s beef industry.

Matt graduated from the University of Wisconsin Platteville with a degree in Animal Science.  Following graduation he went to the University of Nebraska for the UNL Feed Yard Management internship.  Upon completing the program he returned home and started to grow his crop and feedlot operation.  He really learned in this experience .  Matt said when reflecting on this experience he learned more about people management and “we are not really in the beef business, we are in the people business.” And Matt has used this philosophy to expand his operation and find opportunities.  Currently, Matt farms 1600 acres. His cattle operation is best described as diversified. Matt’s cows serve as an embryo transfer cooperator herd for elite Angus genetics. He is custom feeding bulls and a group of cows for a genetic development program.  You can come and see Matt’s operation in June on the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Summer Tour. And meet his wife Kelley and their three children; Anna, Wade, and Hope. 

2017 Cattlemen of Year Bob Mitchell

2017 Cattleman of the Year


Bob Mitchell and his family operate Spring Creeks Cattle Company in Southwest Wisconsin near Wauzeka in Crawford County.  Bob started the operation by purchasing his first farm near Linden, WI in 1976.  In 1991 he purchased the first purebred cattle and transitioned the operation to Crawford County in the early 2000’s.  The family’s 600 head seedstock and commercial cow calf operation includes Bob and his wife, Rhonda, and the families of their three sons Matt, Bart, and Scott.  They raise Limousin, Lim-Flex, Angus, and crossbred cattle with selling replacement bulls and females in addition to marketing feeder cattle.  

In 2010 Spring Creeks Cattle Company was nominated for the national Beef Improvement Federation Seedstock Producer of the Year Award. Bob has also served on the North American Limousin Foundation Board for four terms and two years as a Past President.  Currently, Bob represents Wisconsin on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and serves on the operating and safety committees. Bob was nominated to the Cattlemen's Beef Board by the Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau and was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to begin his first term on the Board in 2016. In addition, Spring Creeks Cattle Company is a member of the North American Limousin Foundation, American Angus Association, NCBA, and other regional and state cattle organizations. 

Brancel 2017

2017 Friend of Cattlemen


This year Wisconsin Cattlemen’s has selected someone who has served the WI Beef and Agriculture Industry in several capacities, mainly through public service.  Brancel served in the Wisconsin Assembly for 11 years. He was tapped to serve as co-chair of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee in 1995 and was elected by his colleagues to serve as Assembly Speaker in 1997. Brancel previously served as the DATCP Secretary under Governor Tommy G. Thompson from 1997-2001. Then Brancel was appointed Wisconsin state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Services Agency in 2001. He most recently served as the state relations liaison for UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, where he helped support the Wisconsin Agricultural Research Stations. When Scott Walker was elected governor Ben Brancel returned in his former role as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). 

Ben has been a longtime supporter of the Wisconsin Beef Industry and a regular participant at the WCA Winter Conference as an attendee and a speaker at the legislative update sessions.  In addition to his public service role at DATCP he also has served as the leader of the WI Farm Service Agency office and as a state legislator.  Ben has made it part of his career standing up for and promoting Wisconsin cattlemen and our Beef Industry as well as an advocate of our state’s important Agriculture industry. 

Brancel is the fifth generation to be raised on his family’s farm in Marquette County. Brancel attended the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where he received a degree in animal science. After managing his dairy operation for 22 years, he started a registered Angus herd and more recently added registered Hereford cattle with son and daughter-in-law, Todd and Sondra.