Panelists talk capturing value during Angus Convention

Panelists during the Capturing Value at the 2023 Angus Convention discussed profitability and marketing strategies for cattlemen. Pictured from left are Troy Marshall of the American Angus AssociationÒ, Doug Stanton of IMI Global, Tracy Woods of 44 Farms, Lydia Yon of Yon Family Farms and Travis Mitchell of Clemson University’s Cooperative Extension Service.

The online news outlet, Oklahoma Voice, reports the state will pay at least 3.3 million dollars in legal fees related to ongoing tribal disputes between the Governor and tribes in the courtroom.

The fees will be paid from using gaming compliance fees paid by the tribes. Theor, Fallin, paid for her legal representation when it came to tribal compact conflicts. Stitt administration says this is the same way former governAn Angus University session on marketing cattle brings together seedstock producers, commercial cattlemen and industry representatives.

It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset of, “Well, that’s how we’ve always done it.” Fortunately, change and innovation run aplenty in the cattle business.

In November, the 2023 Angus Convention’s educational program highlighted innovations in the beef cattle industry and gave producers a chance to talk about challenges and opportunities they see in the future.

One session, the Capturing Value panel, discussed marketing strategies for cattlemen who run cow-calf and seedstock operations and how they can work together to increase profitability.

Four uniquely qualified panelists – Travis Mitchell with Clemson University’s Cooperative Extension Service, South Carolina Cattlemen’s Association and Mitchell Farms; Lydia Yon, Yon Family Farms; Tracy Woods, 44 Farms; and Doug Stanton, IMI Global – encouraged producers to take advantage of value-added programs and to stay informed about industry trends and opportunities.

Together they represented a variety of experiences and marketing strategies, having worked with producers from across the U.S. – whether selling at local livestock auctions or large video sales – and of varied herd sizes.

From a seedstock perspective, Woods and Yon talked about how they try to help their customers find success marketing their cattle. About half of the session’s audience self-identified as seedstock producers.

“We definitely are data driven, but we also try to be very tuned in to what our customers need from us and what we need to do to help facilitate them being profitable,” Yon said.

Yon Family Farms, based in Ridge Spring, South Carolina, hosts two sales a year, selling around 450 bulls annually. She said herd sizes in the Southeast present another challenge – trying to stay competitive even when producers are not able to sell cattle as load lots on their own.

Yon and Mitchell work together to do this, being in the same county (Saluda County, South Carolina). Mitchell provides presentations for local producers to discuss marketing options they have and how to make the most of the value they have created.

“With Extension, I’m in the relationship business,” he said. “I serve a lot of time throughout the day and the week of being a liaison between the seedstock producer and the commercial cattlemen or between the commercial cattlemen and the verification agency — however that might look.”

For around 10 years, Mitchell has helped organize sales at his local livestock auction twice annually for farmers and ranchers working together to make uniform load lots. This is done in coordination with his county’s cattlemen’s association.

“They’re doing a good job of going out, making the right genetic selections, and we want to make sure that they’re getting paid for that,” Mitchell said.

Additionally, they have implemented uniform vaccination protocols and G.A.P. Certification (Global Animal Partnership Certification) for the cattle included in the sales. With some of these sellers using genetics from Yon Family Farms, Yon shared the impacts she has seen for their customers.

“They might’ve had only two or three people bidding on their calves competitively when they sold them,” Yon said. “Now that they can have those tags [and value-added programs] on their lots when they sell them, they might have five or six people bidding, and you all know what that does.”

Mitchell estimates 25% of the producers involved in the sales receive carcass data back from buyers, and that percentage has been growing.

Woods was also asked about the impact of carcass data during the panel. He works as the chief genetics officer for 44 Farms in Cameron, Texas. In that role, he helps build supply chains, which focus on meeting consumers’ demands for high-quality meat.

He shared what carcass data does for producers wanting to capture more value.

“I think 90% of the people that we give the carcass data back to, really, they want to make it better for both parties,” Woods said. “They obviously want to wean more weight. They want you to buy a heavier calf, but they want an end product that everybody is going to want and that’s Certified Angus Beef® (brand).”

On the panel, Stanton talked about the types of verification services IMI Global provides and what those resources can do within the current cattle market.

“We’ve seen record prices and really good prices on the calves and the yearlings compared to a year ago,” he said. “We expect that to continue for the next 2-3 years. We have been a little pleasantly surprised by the fact that premiums in the marketplace have been at or above the base price of what they were over the last couple of years.”

IMI Global is an agricultural and food verification and certification company. Stanton helps manage beef verification programs like Age and Source, AngusLinkSM value-added programs, NHTC claims and others.

“Third-party verification is essential for validation of whatever trait it is,” he said. “You have a little more money in your pocket, and it’s a good time to try [value-added programs], because we feel like the premiums are still going to be there in the marketplace.”

Woods echoes this, saying many producers are already doing the work needed to qualify for programs, and getting paid for added value in their cattle is one way to be recognized.

“A lot of people don’t want to be at the top of the totem pole, if you will, but they want to get some recognition for the good things that they’re doing,” he said.

Mitchell knows that a little guidance goes a long way in getting cattlemen through the learning curve with these marketing programs. He adds the curve is often not as steep as they think.

“What I’ve noticed over my Extension career is commercial cattlemen do a great job of raising cattle,” Mitchell said. “They do a great job of taking care of calves, weaning, vaccinations, spending their money on the right genetics, but they lack sometimes in making sure that they’re marketing those cattle.”

“As a commercial cattle producer, take responsibility in marketing your cattle and reach out and use these resources that are available to you,” he told the audience.

Audience members were able to ask more specific questions related to their individual operations and marketing strategies during the session. For more stories from the 2023 Angus Convention, visit and view “News & Announcements.”

– Written by Sarah Kocher, Angus Communications

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