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January 20, 2012

The Source

The unofficial verification certificate: Your 'Black Friday' ad

At 5:15 a.m. on Black Friday, I was racing down the blacktop, heading out to get the deal of the day on barbed wire. I had called the store the night before to find out just how much they had in stock.

"No limit, and we have 20 rolls," the clerk told me. Saving $14 on 20 rolls equals $280! Whew, that was going to be the buy of the day. I wanted to be the first one to the farm store to get those 20 rolls of barbed wire.

The marketing concept of Black Friday began in the 1970s, and has since created incredible results for retail stores. Utilizing AngusSource® in your herd could be a great marketing idea, too, and it's never too soon to start thinking about marketing your calves.

I won't guarantee Black Friday results, but enrolling in AngusSouce and utilizing our free online marketing support is an easy way to increase the number of people who know you have calves for sale. Plus, it adds value to your calves by documenting their group age and source, which is currently needed for the export market.

Producers who enroll their calves in AngusSource can utilize the online listing site to let more than 600 potential buyers know, via email twice per week, when and where their Angus-sired calves are selling. Now, this may not reach as many people as the Black Friday ads, but you can sign up to receive our free email at

We send out an email each Sunday listing the calves that will be selling that week, and every Tuesday another email is sent with a list of calves that are new to the site. The listing highlights basic information for each lot, such as owner, origin, sale date and location, number of head, average weight, and group age. An unofficial verification certificate for each group of calves is also available by clicking on the highlighted information on the site.

The unofficial verification certificate lists which program the calves are enrolled in, the group age and source of the calves. If the calves are enrolled in AngusSource, you will find a list of all the registered Angus bulls that were used to sire the enrolled calf crop and the current expected progeny differences (EPDs) and dollar value indexes ($Values) of those sires.

$Values are multi-trait selection indexes, expressed in dollars per head, to compare animals based on preweaning performance merit, or weaned calf value ($W); postweaning performance merit, or feedlot value ($F); or postweaning and carcass value, or beef value ($B). When the potential buyer looks at the unofficial verification certificate, he can see genetic predictors that may help guide his buying decisions. If you would like to learn more about $Values, visit our website at

Research suggests that approximately 70%-75% of buyers research major purchases. The unofficial verification certificate is a valuable tool for buyers to research their potential investment. After all, with corn and cattle prices what they are, purchasing calves is a major investment.

Knowledge is power, and both buyers and producers want the most up-to-date information at their fingertips to make the best decision. Black Friday comes once a year, and you likely market your calf crop once per year, too. Utilize every marketing avenue. Maybe your buyer will be driving down the highway at 5:15 a.m. to get the deal of the day because he knows your calves will grow, grade and make him a profit.

Editor's Note: Ginette Kurtz is manager of AngusSource for the American Angus Association.

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