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November 22, 2010
Logan Ipsen

Logan Ipsen

Association Perspective

A tool chest for profit.

by Logan Ipsen, regional manager, American Angus Association

Undoubtedly, anyone who has listened to a talk given by American Angus Association staff has seen slides explaining the abundant numbers that accompany each registered Angus animal. We have made the point that each of those numbers is a decision-making tool. Furthermore, as I have traveled Region 12, I have heard repeatedly from academia, government and industry personnel that the data released by breed associations are tools to help producers make profit-driven decisions.

With all the numbers that the Association can provide to producers, we are reaching a point that the "toolbox" has become a "tool chest." To complete an analogy, I often compare Angus breeders to mechanics. A mechanic will have an entire set of tools for a specific job. No one tool fixes the entire vehicle, and many tools are model-specific.

Likewise, with the tools given to Angus producers, we are giving specific tools for specific traits. That is the exciting part of raising Angus cattle: We are essentially genetic mechanics. We have been mating cattle with the intent to make a better animal from conception to consumption, and with our database, herd inventory numbers and available tools, we have created an opportunity for Angus breeders to mate and market some of the most exciting cattle around the world.

Our annual registrations have continued at close to 300,000 head during the past few years, and I believe that many commercial cattlemen have realized there is a very apparent outcross advantage similar to 'hybrid vigor' within the breed itself. Crossbreeding has become an industry buzzword; however, with a database that has analyzed more than 18 million performance records and now incorporates DNA profiles, we as breeders have identified available outcross pedigrees to allow our commercial customers to continue with Angus while taking advantage of exceptional performance, ample carcass merit, and more marketability than any other breed of cattle.

In Region 12 we have experienced one of the best years known to cattlemen. The decreased cow herd with a stabilizing consumer demand has played the supply-and-demand graph perfectly. We are just finishing a record-setting bull sale season, as many have seen through sale reports, but as the market for a registered Angus bull has grown, so has the market for other areas of Angus genetics. Replacement females, feeder and fat cattle sired by registered Angus bulls have grown as well. Commercial cattle with data behind them have commanded premiums that have reached levels many cattlemen have never seen before.

Many of the programs offered by the Association, such as Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) and AngusSource®, have played a major role in driving that demand through every avenue of marketing cattle. With the high cost of cattle and now a drastic increase in commodity prices, feeders and packers are experiencing a volatile situation, and many of these people need to rely on carcass merit to gain added value on the rail.

One comment I heard repeatedly throughout the year as I traveled to many of the nation's largest video sales was, "I'll buy them because I know what they'll do." I noted that many of these buyers relied on the data, or toolbox, to make their profit-making decisions. When a commercial producer can use the tools of the Association and the data that accompanies the registered Angus bull siring their calf crop, they are sure to experience that increased demand that has driven the programs of the Association to new heights. For example, the AngusSource program enrolled cattle beyond the half-million mark, and CAB sold 777 million pounds in this last fiscal year. The Angus genetics across the world are experiencing extremely rewarding times.

If you would like to learn more about the Association and the programs it administers, go to or contact your regional manager.

Editor's Note: Regional Manager Logan Ipsen covers Region 12, including the states of Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah. Click here to find the regional manager for your state.

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