Meeting the needs.
During my various opportunities throughout the year to spend time with cattlemen across my territory, one thing becomes particularly evident. The needs of different producers are as vast as the number of producers itself. Some breeders focus almost solely on calving ease, while others tend to put selection pressure on performance, others on carcass traits and some even have a distinct goal of selecting for maternal traits.
With that in mind, two important things for producers to acknowledge are:
- 1) learn about what your clientele deems valuable and
- 2) settle on a breeding program goal that is realistic (ex: maternal, performance, calving ease, carcass) and stay committed to moving your program toward that goal for several years to come.
By knowing the needs of your customers (feedlots or even packing plants), this will give you the opportunity to better serve them and ultimately increase the relevance of your program to them. Though in many people’s eyes this concept may go without saying, it tends to go without practice more than we want to recognize. There is really only one way to truly learn the answers to these questions. Take the time to reach out to those who have purchased cattle. These interactions will prove to be invaluable as time progresses both in the knowledge you will gain as a seller and the strengthening of the individual relationships you will build with each customer.
The second portion of building buyer confidence refers to having distinct breeding program goals and not wavering from that from breeding season to breeding season. Fortunately, in the Angus business, we have more herd-improvement tools accessible to producers than any other breed of beef cattle. These tools come in many different shapes and sizes. A few examples include expected progeny differences (EPDs), Angus Herd Improvement Records (AHIR®) performance data, MaternalPlus®, Angus LinkSM, exhibitions, and a dedicated staff that is passionate about all sectors of the beef industry.
As the uplifting season of spring continues to come upon us, I encourage all breeders to take time to reach out to those who have purchased cattle to encourage feedback. Also, as you begin to think about breeding season, keep in mind the overarching goal of what your program has been designed for, and don’t let the mystery of “what if” overshadow where the heartbeat of your breeding program truly lies.
Editor’s note: Regional Manager Adam Conover covers Region 5, including the states of Iowa and Missouri. Click here to find the regional manager for your state.