Inspiration from Dante’s Inferno.
Dante’s Inferno and nine circles of hell was my son’s assignment this past week during the cold snap. We compared the icy lake to the icy road and how the cattle were suspended in the lake. The combination of classic literature meets millennial farmer made for some interesting conversation.
The conversation about lab-grown meat during the Cattle Industry Convention also yielded some compelling conversation. I find it difficult to imagine eating a culture-grown substance or other alternative protein as a substitute for a big, juicy cheeseburger or a succulent steak.
Missouri is the first state to take a stance on misrepresenting products as meat when it did not come from livestock. I’m going to say it’s the Show-Me State mentality that led to this law. I applaud Missouri for taking a stance early. In addition, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) helped to ensure the Department of Agriculture has primary jurisdiction over the inspection and marketing of lab-produced substances.
Those familiar with Dante may recall the first circle of hell is limbo. Beef producers cannot sit on their heels and wait to see what happens. Take the opportunity to find out what your state legislature and cattle association are doing to keep a pulse on this industry.
What consumers want
NCBA’s Cattlemen’s College® always seems to have some interesting speakers. One of the sessions I attended was focused on today’s consumers and what they want. It was hosted by a panel from Cargill. I found it very interesting as they discussed the priorities consumers place on various claims.
Value-added programs will continue to gain acceptance not only for consumers, but also to cattle producers looking to avoid discounts in the marketplace. Several packing plants have already mentioned Beef Quality Assurance certification will become the norm.
I have highlighted a few points in the graph that a producer can utilize when enrolling in value-added programs to capture the information consumers want to know. Additionally consumers want to know if they are purchasing Prime, Choice or Select product. Some of the items on the survey overlapped, such as locally raised and from a family-owned farm.
Producers, now is the time to get started using AngusSource® in your operation. AngusSource offers five USDA Process Verified Programs (PVP).
- 1. Age and Source verification — Calves born on your operation are eligible, and you will need to know the age of the enrollment group. Producers can have any breed of beef cattle to enroll their calves in the AngusSource PVP.
- 2. Non-Hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC) — This is a pretty descriptive name; the calves cannot have been given any implants or additional hormones.
- 3. AngusSource Never Ever 3 (AS-NE3) — This PVP specifies no added hormones, no animal byproducts and no antibiotics. Several producers at Cattle Industry Convention seemed to think adhering to this PVP meant they would not be allowed to doctor a calf when it came down with pneumonia. The sick animal you doctored cannot be marketed as being antibiotic-free. However, I highly doubt your whole calf crop had pneumonia and was doctored. The calf that was given antibiotics needs to be removed from the marketing group. It does not mean you cannot care for the sick animals on your operation.
- 4. AngusSource Cattle Care and Handling (AS-CCH) — Producers who have completed, passed and are current on their Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training should consider this additional verification.
- 5. AngusSource Calf Management (AS-CM) — This is a preventative health verification for your enrollment group. Documentation on vaccines, dates administered and location will be a part of the information needed to comply.
Consumers continue to want to know more about the food they eat. Value-added programs will continue to gain traction in marketing your feeder calves. Take the time to begin exploring the programs offered by the American Angus Association. After all, we have been serving Angus cattlemen since 1883. Now we want serve you, the commercial cattlemen, with knowledgeable staff focused on bringing you cost-effective programs and marketing support. Give us a call today to learn more about the value-added options at the American Angus Association.
Editor’s note: Ginette Gottswiller is the director of commercial programs for the American Angus Association.