Red Angus breed celebrates growth at annual convention

News
Oct 23, 2009
by WLJ

Record Feeder Calf Certification Program (FCCP) tag sales, positive registration growth, and record-high GridMaster Awards indicate Red Angus’ profitability in a tough economy. Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) members convened in Mahnomen, MN, Sept. 16-19 at the association’s 56th annual convention to conduct business, socialize and celebrate the breed’s milestones.

“Red Angus are earning more market share in tough economic times,” said RAAA Executive Secretary Greg Comstock in his state of the association address. “Commercial producers’ profitability is challenged and they are looking for ways to increase their profit margins. Red Angus cattle deliver a better product.”

While other major breeds are experiencing declines in their registration numbers, Red Angus was the only breed to show growth. The association’s registrations grew 3 percent each year since 2003 and they are on track for the same increase this year.

In addition to registration growth, RAAA reached milestones in their commercial marketing programs. FCCP reached an all-time record by selling 104,000 tags in one year. February was the peak month, with nearly 27,000 tags sold—a 2,000tag increase over previous records. RAAA is currently 30 percent ahead of schedule on tag sales this year.

“The popularity of the FCCP program is spreading from the cow/calf producer to the feeder and to the packer because the quality of the Red Angus product is consistent,” said RAAA Commercial Marketing Director Clint Berry. “Red Angus steers are topping sales across the nation and their heifer mates are commanding the same price because of their popularity as Pro- Cow replacement females.”

The FCCP program is USDA approved for genetic, age and source verification, offers value-based marketing options, and includes free feeder and fed cattle marketing services through the association.

RAAA President Kelli Brown shared her vision and passion for Red Angus in her opening address. “Cattle producers faced many challenges this year as we dealt with a tough economy and genetic defects. But like an old cowboy friend said, there are many trails leading to the water hole, but the common goal is still to get a drink. Likewise, there are many ‘trails’ within our breed, but we all have the same goal in the end.”

That common goal, said Brown, is to be profitable while maintaining the lifestyle we enjoy. The RAAA Strategic Planning Committee presented the strategic plan for the next five years that will serve as a roadmap for the association to realize their vision to create market share and increase critical mass of Red Angus cattle.

In addition to viewing cattle on display outside the convention center, RAAA members spent time in committee meetings discussing promotion, marketing, breed improvement, registration, constitution and bylaws, and shows and sales.

Cattle producers attended the Commercial Cattlemen’s Seminar to learn what the association is doing in these respective committee areas. They also listened to Dr. Greg Lardy, the newly appointed head of North Dakota State University’s (NDSU) Department of Animal Sciences, discuss changes in the beef industry, and Dr. Gerald Stokka, senior veterinarian for Pfizer Animal Health, present information on factors driving health and profitability.

Interactive workshops assisted producers in advertising, photography and managing genetic defects.

Kelli Brown of Throckmorton, TX, was re-elected to serve a second term as RAAA president.

Tommy Coley of Birmingham, IA, was re-elected to serve as a representative of Region C that encompasses the Northeast, Southwest and Midwest districts.

Leonard Wood of Sandpoint, ID, was elected as director of District 1—West.

Esther Fischer of Harlowton, MT, was re-elected as director of District 2—Montana.

Forest Dunning of Sheridan, WY, will serve a second term as director for District 3—Rocky Mountains.

Tim Whitley, Horton, AL, was elected as director for District 8—Southeast.

Larry Ellison of Fair Grove, MO, was elected as director for District 9—Midwest.

Producers toured NDSU’s facilities during the Cattlemen’s College. Neil Dyer, director of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, explained the testing his staff conducts for producers in the region.

Lardy presented the Animal Nutrition and Physiology Center and explained their current research projects relating to animal nutrition and efficiency.

Tour attendees also learned about the NDSU Equine Studies program and racing facilities from Dr. Erika Berg, assistant professor at the NDSU Equine Center and adjoining North Dakota Horsepark.

The tour wrapped up at the Beef Systems Center of Excellence where co-director Rob Maddock guided participants through the newly opened beef and bison processing facilities.

Next year’s Red Angus convention will be held in Springfield, MO, Sept. 15- 18. For more information about the association, visit redangus.org or call the national office at 940/387-3502.

WLJ

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