Life is all about choices, or at least in the free world as we know it, life is about choices. Having lived in America my entire life and having had the opportunity to travel in many foreign countries, I cannot imagine life without choices.
Many people in other lands are not as fortunate as we are. Noted author Joseph Conrad wrote in Nostromo, a novel of exile in a foreign land, “In our activity alone do we find the sustaining illusion of an independent existence as against the whole scheme of things of which we form a helpless part.”
This passage always reminds me of just how fortunate we are in the United States. We can make a difference.
Three sound choices
I am excited and pleased to comment about three of these recent choices made by your American Angus Association Board of Directors. The first was the decision to pursue, in concert with the Agri-Business Group (ABG) of Indianapolis, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant for promotion of premises registration in relation to the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).
The program is voluntary and provides Angus breeders and Angus affiliates the opportunity to put in place a system that will enable them to satisfy requirements of national and international marketing programs and country-of-origin labeling (often referred to as COL or COOL), which becomes effective in 2008.
Secondly, realizing that bold action was needed to place the Angus breed in a position of solid leadership in the industry, your Board recently established a new, for-profit company called Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI). This wholly-owned subsidiary will do business as Beef Improvement Co. to provide genetic evaluation for traits that affect profit and consumer satisfaction of beef and beef products.
Additionally, Beef Improvement Co. will be involved in research and the application of new technologies, including the utilization of DNA by the beef industry. In response to the expressed needs of the industry regarding the advancement of science and technology, this decision will prove to be a positive action and will provide our industry with tools to enable it to compete more efficiently with other sources of protein.
Thirdly, your Association is working with Pfizer Animal Heath Industries in a cooperative effort to promote the use of AngusSource® in conjunction with Pfizer's SelectVac animal health program. This venture, national in scope, will create additional value beyond providing marketing assistance to commercial producers using registered Angus bulls with respect to age, source and genetic information by coupling with that information regarding animal health. What an exciting innovation!
Riding the wave?
In years past there has been a tremendous amount of fragmentation in our industry. However, cooperation and involvement among industry leaders are becoming increasingly prevalent. We must continue to encourage and foster communication between all segments of agriculture.
Above all, we must continue to focus on service. A good friend of mine from Pennsylvania said to me at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) midyear meeting in Denver, “The Angus breed is riding the crest of the wave. Your future success will be measured by how well you service the needs of commercial cattle producers and the service you provide to the beef industry.”
I thought he said it well. The choice is ours.