Ranchers reap the rewards of Red Angus programs

Feb 6, 2009
by WLJ

Red Angus cattle are known for practical and profitable traits such as excellent mothering ability, improved uniformity and marketability in crossbred calf crops, superior carcass quality, moderate size, lower maintenance energy requirements, and gentle dispositions.

But the popularity of the breed extends beyond the valuable production traits that commercial cattlemen appreciate to the industry leadership and marketing services that have placed Red Angus as the cornerstone of today’s beef industry.

Red Angus’ tradition of progressive leadership has positioned the breed at the forefront of the industry and set the standard for which other breeds follow.

Established in 1954, the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) was the first breed based on performance testing versus simple visual appraisal. It was also the first breed to promote crossbreeding and open use of AI technology. RAAA was the first breed association to establish mandatory Total Herd Reporting that requires performance data through weaning.

The association was also the first to negotiate a valuebased grid with a major packer, establish a USDA- Verified Program that proves source and genotype, the first to utilize performance data in the show ring, the first to release a Maintenance Energy EPD, and the first to base all its EPDs on the principle of Economic Relevant Traits.

Feeder Calf Certification Program

One of the greatest benefits of using Red Angus genetics is the Commercial Marketing Programs that are free for all Red Angus customers to use. The cornerstone of Red Angus Commercial Marketing Programs is the Feeder Calf Certification Program (FCCP), or the “Yellow Tag” program as it is commonly referred to. FCCP was created in 1995 and is the industry’s most experienced source-verified program. It identifies “Angus” genetics through genotype versus a phenotypic hide color.

Today, FCCP is a USDA Process-Verified Program that substantiates the source and age components for Country-of-Origin Labeling claims. Now over a decade old, FCCP has enrolled over 1 million head of cattle from more than 3,000 producers.

Calves enrolled in FCCP wear the “Yellow Tag” and qualify for export to the Pacific Rim countries, opening up greater market opportunities and giving feeder cattle buyers increased incentives to pay premiums on Red Angus-sired FCCP cattle.

The Red Angus breed offers all these benefits for only the cost of the ear tags— there are no enrollment fees or hidden charges. RAAA is currently running a special sale on the FCCP yellow tags through March 31 for only 99 cents for the visual dangle tag or $3 for the Visual/RFID combo tag.

Pro-Cow Program

The Pro-Cow Program is another major element of Red Angus’ Commercial Marketing Programs. Pro- Cow was established to draw industry attention to, and facilitate the sale of, replacement-quality Red Angus-influenced commercial females. This free service enables buyers to locate females that fit their program and sellers the opportunity to promote females they have available.

Since September 2003, over 100,000 open and bred heifers, bred cows and pairs have been listed or sold through Pro-Cow. Pro-Cow also serves as a value-added program by increasing the premiums buyers pay producers for the female side of their calf crop. It’s not uncommon for heifers to out sell their steer mates at feeder calf and video sales across the country because buyers place premiums on the heifers as replacement females.

Feeder calf sales

To assist Red Angus customers in marketing their calves, and help potential buyers find the quality cattle they are seeking, RAAA offers several media outlet options.

Red Angus marketing staff works with sale barns and market auctions across the country to schedule FCCP sales that increase the number of Red Angus-sired calves marketed, while attracting additional buyers by increasing the volume of quality calves offered in one sale. An outgrowth of the FCCP sales in auction barns is the inclusion of special Red Angus sections in various video sales. Superior Livestock Auction, Northern Livestock Video Auction and Hodge Livestock Network all held special Red Angus sections in their 2008 sales and are planning more for 2009.

RAAA advertises these marketing options on their Web site, through the American Red Angus magazine, and various other printed agriculture publications.

Red Angus Feeder

Fax Producers who are marketing feeder cattle can utilize the Red Angus Feeder Fax, a bulletin-based e-mail that the association sends out to active Red Angus buyers across the country. Whether cattlemen are selling calves or yearlings through sale barns, video or private treaty, they can use the Feeder Fax to draw additional interest in their calves.

Red Angus Stockyards

The Red Angus Stockyards is a Web-based listing service that allows customers to list their sale cattle or search for Red Angus genetics. The site is designed as a means of connecting buyers and sellers while adding additional value to their cattle.

Feedlot Partners

RAAA provides a special service to Red Angus customers searching for retained ownership possibilities through the Feedlot Partners listing on the Red Angus Web site. Feedlot Partners lists feed yards that feed Red Angus-sired calves. The list includes contact information, special services they provide, programs they offer, financial assistance, and any gridbased marketing options.

RAAA also works to add value for the cattle feeders who purchase Red Angus cattle by ensuring that all of the major packers recognize the added value inherent in cattle wearing the FCCP tag. These added-value options work to increase the premiums paid to Red Angus feeders and customers retaining ownership through the production chain.

The Red Angus marketing team has increased its allocated resources in 2009 to make certain Red Angus customers receive the greatest possible return on their investment—superior Red Angus genetics. If you have questions about the Red Angus Commercial Marketing Programs, please call Clint Berry or Myron Edelman at 940/387-3502, visit the Red Angus Web site at redangus.org, or email clint@redan gus.org or myron@redangus. org. — Clint Berry, RAAA Commercial Marketing Director