BeefTalk: Age and source verificationIn nature, fall brings a shift in focus. It is time to accumulate, evaluate and tabulate. For beef producers, gathering and marketing animals are front and center because the store is closing for the year, so come back next summer.
By: Kris Ringwall, NDSU Extension, The Dickinson Press
In nature, fall brings a shift in focus. It is time to accumulate, evaluate
tabulate. For beef producers, gathering and marketing animals are front and
center because the store is closing for the year, so come back next summer.
This is the time of year when life gets a little tougher. For many, the
stores remain stocked, which is the consumers' only view of food production.
In past generations, grandma stocked the root cellar, canned the summer's
produce and added a few pullets to the hen house. Grandpa harvested the
and started the calves, pigs or lambs on feed for winter meat.
Through the years, farms have increased in size and productivity, ultimately
supplying our city cousins with a near endless supply of food. At the same
people simply have forgotten where food comes from.
In the last decade, there has been a movement to reconnect the art of food
production from the producer to the consumer. While the reasons may vary,
new dimension of agriculture is growing.
Age and source verification for meat and source verification for many more
products are management processes that seem to please consumers. While the
connection back to the actual producer may be marginal, the knowledge about
food we eat brings some contentment to human well-being.
For beef producers, age- and source-verified cattle are earning premiums of
to $35 per carcass. The premiums vary depending on the program, but cash is
being offered for ranch- or feedlot-verified cattle through to the packer.
Chip Poland, Dickinson Research Extension Center livestock specialist, and I
start two days of each week teaching the cow-calf management class at
State University. The attitude of the 15 potential beef producers is
of the industry.
The struggle with the concept of premiums from age and source verification
real. The skepticism is not easily overcome because new programs require
and working cattle is never easy.
While additional money may be offered to the industry, there are many in the
industry with their hands out. The cow-calf producer often is last in line.
The so-called premiums, if one wishes to call them that, seem to be thinner
those at the end of the line versus those at the beginning of the line.
there is opportunity. With opportunity, the challenge of capturing more
share is real.
Unfortunately, business as usual must be set aside. For these 15 students
we hope, other producers as well, a willingness to make the connection from
producer to consumer needs to be approached. The process can be complicated
The amount of the premium is dependent on the current demand that feedlots
to buy age- and source-verified cattle and the availability of properly age-
source-verified calves. Most markets will indicate a positive relationship
between age- and source- verified calves and value, depending on the
worth of each producer's calves.
Calves doing poorly still are calves doing poorly, with or without age
verification. Good calves always find their way to the top.
The only real way to grab the full premium is for the producer to retain
ownership of the calves all the way to the packer. In that case, the packer
hand you the premium and all skepticism should end.
However, that means increased market risk. For many, $35 is not worth the
retained ownership. However, for today, feedyards are looking, so why not
and source verify your calves and work diligently with your local sale barn
make sure all buyers are well aware of the quality of your calves and their
eligibility for additional foreign markets?
It never hurts to brag a little while you sell your calves.
May you find all your ear tags.
Your comments are always welcome at www.BeefTalk.com.