Riding for the brand
Louis L'Amour would have to be considered one of the most prolific writers in
Western history, having authored more than 100 novels and many short stories
about good guys and bad guys in the West. In a sense, his stories were always
romantic and steeped in keeping with the code of the West. Right always prevailed,
and his leading characters always rode for the brand. This thought kept running
through my mind as I returned home from the Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB)
Annual Conference in Seattle, Wash., in mid-August.
What a tremendous event it was. The conference was well-attended by some 400
of the most enthusiastic wholesalers, retailers, restaurateurs, foodservice
people, feedlotters, packers and ranchers one could imagine.
This by-invitation-only event recognizes various levels of achievement by licensees
in each of these categories. It also highlights up-to-date and pertinent information
relative to each facet of the food business.
The Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) brand is most unique in that it was not only
the first major branded beef program in the world, but it is the largest one
in existence today. The reasons for this success are many. The program identifies
Angus-type cattle that pass a series of physical and end-product requirements
that contribute to consistently providing consumers with a delightful eating
experience. Attesting to this success is the prediction that fiscal year (FY)
2006 will be the second best in the history of the program.
The process begins with genetic selection at the seedstock level. Angus breeders
and commercial producers have access to the most comprehensive performance
database in the world, and they have put it to good use in selecting seedstock
that excel in the characteristics that influence the taste and palatability
The process continues through the feedlot, the packer, the retailer, all the
way through to the actual consumer. Every segment of the industry endeavors
to add value to the product. The support of the almost 35,000 life, regular
and junior members of the American Angus Association and the dedicated support
of the professional staffs of the CAB program, Association, Angus Productions
Inc. (API) and the Angus Foundation makes the team effort complete.
It's riding for the brand.
Beyond our gate
As previously indicated, all segments of the beef chain were discussed by licensees
and invited speakers. One such speaker, Randy Blach of Cattle-Fax, gave a stirring
presentation wherein he explained that while per capita consumption of beef
at 63-65 pounds (lb.) had not changed during the past few years, beef demand
had increased a whopping 25 percent within the past 15 years. This he attributed
to improved genetics, enhanced marketing and new product development.
These changes did not just happen. They were brought about as a result of paying
attention to what consumers told us about our product. Likewise, we in the
purebred industry must do the same. We must pay close attention to what the
commercial industry tells us. They are our foremost customers, and we must
never forget that without their support, the chain is broken.
Let us continue to ride for the brand and to assist our customers in doing the