2023 NCBA: Who is the American Angus Association?

Improving genetics for higher beef quality
calendar icon 23 August 2023
clock icon 3 minute read

Troy Marshall, with the American Angus Association, spoke to The Cattle Site’s Sarah Mikesell at the NCBA conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

American Angus Association

“We represent the Angus breed and Angus breeders in the United States,” said Marshall. “The Angus breed has about 80% market share within the commercial beef industry now. Primarily, we're known for doing our genetic evaluation and for our Certified Angus Beef program which is the largest branded beef program in the US.”

AngusLink program

AngusLink is really designed for one purpose and that's to put more dollars in the pocket of commercial cattlemen,” he said. “We do that by helping to differentiate their cattle in the marketplace.”

One of the frustrating things Angus producers experience in this industry with a commodity pricing system is the ability to differentiate cattle with superior genetics and to get paid for their genetics. The American Angus Association has partnered with IMI Global to conduct a verification program using a genetic merit scorecard where Angus cattle are described from a genetic standpoint.

“Buyers have more confidence in buying those cattle,” he explained. “We're kind of looking to change the way feeder cattle are priced in the United States.”

Importance of genetics and beef quality 

“I think we're seeing maybe the golden era in the cattle business, from a price standpoint,” Marshall said. ‘We have historically tight supplies with historically strong demand, so the next three to four years are going to be very good from a price standpoint.”

The cattle industry is seeing the drivers for quality change dramatically.

“We're making the cattle better and at the same time, consumers are responding to that improvement in quality,” he said. “We're seeing that with bigger spreads for prime and choice cattle than we've ever seen before.”

“It's really exciting what we've done from a genetic standpoint,” he added. “We've doubled the amount of cattle grading in the prime grade, and yet the premium has increased at the same time.”

There has been similar growth in the Certified Angus Beef product or the upper two thirds of choice, where over the last 20 years, has more than doubled the amount of cattle that qualify for that program. Premiums are increasing.

“The consumers have spoken loud and clear that they want a high-quality product,” Marshall said. “When you mentioned other things on the genetic side, we are looking at some headwinds with historically high input costs and that sort of thing.”

Genetics, whether it be from an efficiency standpoint in terms of fertility and reproduction or as a higher percentage of the calf crop, is playing an important role in the industry.

“When you look at the value of genetics from a growth, carcass weight and feed efficiency standpoint, the value of genetics has never been higher,” he said. “If you're raising good cattle, it's a very good time to be in the business.”

For more information, visit the American Angus Association website.

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