For the second year in a row, the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) awarded a record number of GridMaster Awards to Red Angus breeders and feedlots at the RAAA's national convention in Springfield, Mo., Sept. 16 – 17.

Thirty-nine producers and feeders received the prestigious GridMaster Award that recognized them for breeding and owning cattle that meet and exceed strict carcass quality specifications.

The number of GridMaster Award recipients more than doubled from last year, while the number of fed cattle that met the program's criteria nearly tripled, totaling 2,800 head. “As exciting as the number of winners may be, the level at which these cattle performed is outstanding,” said Myron Edelman, director of value-added programs.

In order to achieve GridMaster status, Red Angus or Red Angus-influenced cattle enrolled in the Red Angus Feeder Calf Certification Program (FCCP) must achieve a specified level of carcass excellence. Both conventional- and natural-fed cattle are eligible for GridMaster consideration.

The conventionally fed cattle – numbering 1,022 head – averaged 91.47 percent Choice quality grade, 56 percent Yield Grade 1s and 2s, with only a 2.3 percent Yield Grade 4s.

The naturally fed cattle – 1,738 head – averaged 95 percent Choice or better including 9 percent Prime quality grade. Fifty percent were Yield Grade 1 or 2 and less than 5.5 percent were Yield Grade 4s.

“There's no question,” said Edelman, “ that these are the type of carcass cattle this business strives to produce.”

Load lots ranged in size from 31 to 316 head.

Conventional-fed lots

Nineteen load lots of conventionally fed cattle achieved GridMaster status. They were harvested at the U.S. Premium Beef (USPB) plants in Dodge City, Kan., and Liberal, Kan., on the USPB grid, Cargill plants at Schuyler, Neb., and Fort Morgan, Colo., JBS Swift and Co. plants at Grand Island, Neb., on the GeneNet grid.

Conventional-fed cattle must meet the following requirements:

• Minimum of 30-head lot size

• Minimum 80 percent Choice or higher

• Maximum 7.5 percent Yield Grade 4s

• Minimum Grid Score of 100.

Natural-fed Lots

Twenty load lots of natural cattle earned GridMaster awards. They were harvested at the Greater Omaha Packing Plant of Omaha, Neb., Cargill Meat Solutions, Inc. of Fort Morgan, Colo., and Tyson's plant at Pasco, Wash. The natural cattle qualified on the Meyer Natural Angus and Painted Hills Natural grids.

To account for the different finishing characteristics of natural-fed cattle, they must meet the following criteria:

• Minimum of 30-head lot size

• Minimum 85 percent Choice or higher

• Maximum 15 percent Yield Grade 4s

• Minimum Grid Score of 100

The Grid Score on either conventional- or natural-fed cattle balances high percentages of Premium Products, Yield Grade 1s and 2s and USDA Choice-Grade cattle with minimal percentages of Yield Grade 4s.

Cattle harvested on the Meyer Natural program garnered an additional $15-per-head FCCP tag reimbursement.

The following producers and feeders were awarded 2010 GridMaster Awards.

• Wedel Red Angus of Leoti, Kansas.

• Summers Cattle Co., of Gibbons, Neb.

• George Donnell of Graford, Texas

• DeLong Ranches of Winnemucca, Nev., Franklin O'Driscoll of Gunnison, Utah, Johnson Tuning Fork Ranch, Hall, Mont., and Johnson Red Top Ranch of Veteran, Wyo.

• Joe Frasier of Limon, Colo.

• Snake River Ranch of Wilson, Wyo., and Beef Marketing Group of Great Bend, Kan.

• Christensen Brothers Inc. of Weldona, Colo.

• Sargents Cattle Co. of San Ardo, Calif.

• Skinner Ranch Inc. of Jordan Valley, Ore.      

• Ranchers Inc. of Fort Morgan, Colo., and Hugh Moeller of Grant, Neb.

• DeLong Ranches of Winnemucca, Nev.

• Anderson Land & Cattle Co. of Oberlin, Kan.

• Prairie Dog Creek Cattle Co. of Oberlin, Kan.

• Kopf Ranch of Eddyville, Neb.

• Caleb Strauss of Junction City, Kansas, and Kniebel Farms of White City, Kansas.

• Pelton Red Angus of Burdett, Kansas.

• Durheim Ranch of Ellendale, N.D.

• H-F Heifer Development of Abilene, Kansas.

• Pat Gibbs of Jordan, Mont.

• Spreutels Farms of Koshkonong, Mo.

• Leland Cattle Co. of Farson, Wyo.

• Mushrush Red Angus of Strong City, Kansas.

• Lorenzen Ranches of Pendleton, Ore.

• David and Susan Redding of Hysham, Mont.

• 5L Ranch of Sheridan, Mont.

• Britt Hays of Jetmore, Kan.

• Shuey Farm, Corning, Iowa

For the past two years, Meyer Natural Angus, U.S. Premium Beef, Tyson, JBS USA and Cargill have harvested GridMaster Award-winning cattle.

“Red Angus commercial ranches and feedyards throughout the country have great competitive harvest options for these Red Angus-fed cattle that carry the value of superior carcass genetics,” said Edelman.

For more information about enrolling your cattle in the Feeder Calf Certification Program, contact the RAAA office at (940) 387-3502, Clint Berry, commercial marketing director,; Mikalena Randazzo, commercial marketing specialist,; or Myron Edelman, director of value-added programs, (307) 351-6032,


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