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EXPERTS PREDICT DOUBLE-DIGIT GROWTH IN NATURAL BEEF

Nashville, Tenn. -- Speaking at the Ivy Natural Solutions (INS) Marketing Forum during the recent NCBA convention, Erica Kuhlmann, managing director and head of BMO Capital Markets' Food Group, and John Stika, president of Certified Angus Beef,© both predicted double-digit growth in the natural beef segment. Kuhlmann said, “The global natural and organic food market has been experiencing double-digit annual growth for the past two years. Based on the investments being made in the industry, BMO Capital Markets expects that rate of growth to exceed 15 percent in 2007 and 2008.”

According to Kuhlmann, here in the United States consumer spending on natural and organically produced meat, poultry and fish -- the fastest growing segment in the overall natural food industry -- topped $2.1 billion in 2005 and is predicted to exceed $6.0 billion annually by 2010, nearly tripling sales in 5 years. Stika said CAB has been experiencing the same exponential growth. “For 2007, our Certified Angus Beef Natural sales are projected to be only 1.5 percent of total CAB sales, but they are up 300 percent from 2006, and the demand is increasing rapidly. The growth of CAB Natural in our food service division is currently limited by product supply.”

The INS forum for natural beef producers and branded beef managers was held during the National Cattleman's Beef Association convention in Nashville. INS sponsored the forum as part of their first anniversary celebration. Ivy Natural Solutions was founded in a year ago to meet the increasing consumer demand for natural and organically produced foodstuffs. Rich Shuler, INS president and CEO, Ivy Animal Health said, “We recognized the need for ‘plate-friendly” products, services and other production inputs that enable cattlemen and beef brands to achieve their brand specifications and decided to invest in this growing industry. We feel we are properly positioned to serve this rapidly expanding market.”

Ivy Natural Solutions offers a number of value-added services to cattle producers and branded beef program managers. Rob Ames, INS brand manager, introduced www.usnaturalbeef.com to the participants at the Forum. This new Web site is a listing and information site designed to facilitate contact between natural beef producers who have cattle for sale, feedyards that are feeding for natural programs and branded beef managers.      Ames said, “We are not in the business of buying and selling cattle but we do want to help our customers find each other. We are offering this free listing service to producers and branded beef programs at no charge. Our long term goal is for www.usnaturalbeef.com to be a central ‘first-source' of information for producers and branded beef managers involved in natural or organic beef production.”

Forum participants were also introduced to another new INS service, The Best Management Practices (BMP), a guide for raising natural and organic beef more effectively.      This comprehensive guide was developed for INS by Dr. Todd Milton of PMS Consulting Group, a nutritional consultant experienced in natural beef production together with the Ivy Natural Solutions veterinary advisory board. Milton told the Forum audience, “Considering the premiums natural beef producers pay for incoming cattle and the premiums they anticipate at market time, maintaining the health and performance of each animal in a natural or organic program is especially important. This BMP outlines production practices that will minimize the need to treat cattle and drop them from the program.”

Ivy Natural Solutions' current product line includes ProTernative™ Continuous Fed Formula -- a natural, rumen specific yeast that enhances performance and maintains rumen health and function when natural beef programs do not allow the use of ionophores, antibiotics or implants – and ProTernative™ Stress Formula, a natural GI tract-specific yeast that helps improve feed consumption and health when cattle are under stress. Helping keep cattle healthy minimizes the fall-out rate if cattle are being fed in a program that does not allow the use of therapeutic antibiotics.

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