Author Archives: blackinkkara

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Although I've been with CAB since 2009, I'm the newest member of the Black Ink team as a Supply Programs Manager. I'm the third generation to thrive from my family's Angus farm near Orleans, Indiana and am a proud alumni of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. I'm a gypsy at heart, yet my constant love for God, family and agriculture keep me grounded no matter where I am on the globe. I like my meat red, my cattle black and my basketball Kentucky blue!
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Every number has a story: 603

Alberta Meat Lab/Ranch June 2015, Making the grade, portion control & tenderness, understanding the carcass, It's a cowboy's lifeThink about some of the defining moments in your career. You know the kind. If you’re a cow-calf producer, perhaps it’s calving season that makes you stand back and say, “That’s what I love about my job.” If you’re an FFA advisor, it may be the struggling student that goes on to a successful career in agriculture thanks to your influence, and that makes you say, “That’s why I do what I do.” If the line of work matches the passion, we all have those moments from time to time.

Hosting groups of licensees and brand partners at various ranches and feedyards has become a key educational initiative for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand. It’s a chance for those on the consumer end to get a personal look at what goes into high-quality beef before it ends up in a box in their cooler. It’s a chance for them to ask their questions and engage in open and honest dialogue with ranchers. It’s their chance to form a first-hand opinion of the beef community and establish a relationship with the people in it.

I often get to be a part of these on-ranch trainings. Dispelling the myths and building confidence in the safety, stewardship and integrity of the cattle business – these are the days where I look at my job and say, “I made a difference today.”

IMG_3953It’s not an initiative taken lightly. A total of 18 different tours were facilitated in 2015. The audiences ranged in size from 7 to 100, but overall we reached 603 partners this year.

That may not seem like a very big number if you consider population statistics or the reach of other popular media sources that may publish less-than-credible information about the beef community, but our focus remains on the influence of the people we are able to host – not the number. We know we can’t provide this kind of experience to every person around the globe who represents our brand on some level. Instead, there’s a careful strategy.

Influence the influencers.

Chef Tour 2015So maybe we can’t capture every single culinary student in the country, but we can host the instructing chefs at the Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales University, allowing them to take their stories from the ranch back to their classrooms. We focus on educating leaders in foodservice distribution so they may share their training with the sales force in their company, reaching an additional 100+ people in many cases. The restaurant managers we host will train far more servers in their career than we could hope to. These ranch experiences can often take people who are multiple-generations-removed from agriculture production and turn them into true supporters of our way of life.

What more could we ask for of a third-party endorsement than for someone outside of agriculture to confidently share their positive impression of farms, ranches and feedyards with those they influence? You see, it’s not my own testimony on the beef community that gives me job satisfaction on these days. It’s knowing that others will go and do the same.

~Kara

By the way, have you checked out our whole series of numbers, covering everything from EPDs and premiums to carcass weights and employees?

Day one: $6.93

Day two: 2.5 million

Day three: $204.10

Day four: 12.1 million

Day five: 11/13

Day six: 8 million

Day seven: 139

Day eight: $39

Day nine: 30.1%

Day 10: 120 million

Day 11: -2.26

Day 12: 12 to 15 minutes 

Day 13: 30%

Day 14: 32 million

Day 15: $154,000

Day 16: 118

Day 17: .51

Day 18: 105

Day 19: 1650

Day 20: 36,575

Day 21: 603

Day 22: 23%

Day 23: 31

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Every number has a story: $154,000

Investments can be made in many forms – perhaps a piece of land, new genetics for your cowherd, or even a basic retirement fund. Regardless of the type of investment, they are all made with the same general goal in mind – that the money you put down today will reap greater benefits in the future.

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Participants in this year’s G&C Food Distributors/Palmer Food Services Mick Colvin Scholarship (golf) Classic.

When Louis M. “Mick” Colvin retired as Executive Director of Certified Angus Beef, LLC in 1999, a scholarship was developed to recognize his role in making dreams a reality and inspiring others to be their best. Mick co-founded the Certified Angus Beef Program in 1978.

The Colvin Scholarship Fund is more than an investment in a college education – it’s an investment in the future leaders of the cattle and beef business. Since the first award was granted in 2002, a total of 58 different scholarships have been awarded in the sum of $154,000.

Like a wise retirement fund, the diversity of the investment can improve the overall impact. Young adults supported by the scholarship have gone on to a variety of careers – all playing vital roles in the future of the beef business. Some are focused in the Angus seedstock business, others have pioneered research initiatives in meat science, and some have shaped strong careers in agriculture journalism, among many other professions.

I’m grateful that even my own road to a career with CAB was partially paved by the scholarship fund.

EPM_4018The neat thing about investments is they may start small, but if made wisely will often give you the flexibility to make even bigger ones down the road. The fund that began as a single $1,500 undergraduate scholarship will award $26,000 in 2016 to five undergraduate students and one graduate student.

If you know an ambitious and deserving student who is looking to make their own investment into the future of the beef industry, it’s not too late to apply for 2016 funds. The undergraduate deadline is quickly approaching (Dec. 7th) and graduate applications are due January 18th.

The Angus business is better thanks to visionaries like Mick Colvin, laying a foundation for wise investment in the best resources the industry has to share – its people.

-Kara

PS–Read the entire “Every number has a story” series here:

Day one: $6.93

Day two: 2.5 million

Day three: $204.10

Day four: 12.1 million

Day five: 11/13

Day six: 8 million

Day seven: 139

Day eight: $39

Day nine: 30.1%

Day 10: 120 million

Day 11: -2.26

Day 12: 12 to 15 minutes 

Day 13: 30%

Day 14: 32 million

Day 15: $154,000

Day 16: 118

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Raising the Steaks

I’ve never been much of a gambler myself. Maybe I value my money too much. It’s possible I take enough other risks and therefore have never had an urge to sit down at the table and leave my financial fate in the hand of a dealer.

But in the cattle business, I think it’s fair to say that the stakes have never been higher. Raising the right kind of cattle can certainly pay financially, but consider the consumer faced with a purchase decision between a higher priced protein (that’s ours, by the way) and a more bargain-driven protein. The equity built with a consumer who has an exceptional eating experience with beef is huge, but the equity lost on a bad beef eating experience? Well, that’s not something most cattlemen I know want to gamble on.

On August 20th, we’re Raising the Steaks! Or rather, we’re opening the classroom doors to those of you who do. Have you ever wondered what we’re doing in the meat industry to merchandise the beef carcass in new ways? Do you want to learn more about what the restaurant business is doing to add value to your cattle? Would you like to understand more about the science and economics of carcass quality? Or maybe you’ve been looking for a better way to explain all of these to your registered Angus bull customers. Our one-day program at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln is designed for all of these!

carcass grader

The class is open to all ages. No matter the role you play in the beef industry, there is something here for you. Visit us here for more information:
Registration is open – sign up today!

Note: If you already have plans to attend the 2015 Nebraska Angus Tour you may notice that our class is conveniently scheduled the day prior. Make plans to come early and join us at the University Meat Lab! However, we welcome any and all who are interested.

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Honoring the best

It’s no secret: we need you.

The pull through demand that our licensed foodservice and retail partners create relies on a consistent and abundant supply of high-quality beef. Growing supply is a team effort, no doubt, but the Certified Angus Beef® team takes great honor in being able to recognize some of our biggest influencers in that supply each year.

Ranchers and feedyard managers have a way of doing things really well, even when no one else is watching. We know your genetic selection isn’t made on what the neighbors might think, and a drive for a higher CAB® acceptance rate is based on a sound business decision rather than an award.

Loseke

Mark and John present the 2014 Feedlot Partner of the Year award to Ryan and June Loseke, of Columbus, Neb.

Yet, we’re on a mission to find and recognize the best. We’ve asked for your nominations in the past and it’s that time of year to again evaluate the outstanding industry partners around you and share their success stories with us.

Our team will be accepting nominations for two different categories:

The Commitment to Excellence awards most closely takes into consideration the applicants’ direct effect on the supply of high-quality cattle that qualify for the brand. Elements we may consider for this award may include–but are not limited to–genetics selection, management practices, customer service, progressive use of technology and overall CAB® acceptance rate. Nominations can be made in one of three categories:

  • Seedstock breeder
  • Commercial producer
  • Feedlot
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John and Donita Moes, of Florence, S.D., won last year’s Progressive Partner award

The Progressive Partner award recognizes those who have found the most innovative and effective ways to add value to high-quality cattle. We’re looking for folks with an advanced marketing approach in today’s business. Nominees may come from any segment of the industry and may be recognized as individuals or as a business.

In the beef business the people you partner with are just as important as the cattle you’re trading. If you have someone you’d like to nominate for any of the above awards, please let us know. You can give me a call at 812-653-0020 or send me an email at klee@certifiedangusbeef.com and I’ll be glad to set you up with a simple form.

Nominations are due by April 30th. We’d love to hear from you today!

~Kara

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Developing More than Good Cattle

When beef production is your main business, the mental checklist is never a short one. There’s rarely, if ever, a thought given to a slow day, and any so-called downtime is spent researching better decisions for next year.

If I asked most ranchers to rank professional development on their list of priorities, I’d guess most would, by default, allow several other things to take a higher priority. It’s an understandable predicament. Our commitment to the cowherd is at the top of the list, but we can’t neglect to hone our skills as managers either.

Basic CMYKThis June, the Angus Foundation will again host its annual Beef Leaders Institute (BLI) class to build leadership qualities within the membership and embark on a week-long tour of the beef industry. For the first time, this year’s session includes a trip to Wooster, OH, for some quality time with the Certified Angus Beef staff, sharing the valuable story of what goes into the handling, marketing and merchandising of our brand.

p123721464-3Angus ranchers raise what’s in very high demand by the general public: high-quality beef. We hope the time we spend with the BLI class will give them greater insight as to how the value of the brand adds equity to high-quality Angus genetics.

Our current writing intern, Katy Kemp, attended a few years back and said that although she’s grown up around cattle and has always known about the other segments, it gave her a chance to really experience the “other side” of the business.

“If you’re a cow-calf guy, you tend to focus on that. If you’re in stockers or feeders, you focus on that, but there are several components of getting that steak on a plate,” she says. “Only on rare occasions, if ever, do you tour the feedlot, packer or foodservice distributor, but with BLI you get to meet and interact with everyone. Hearing directly from p1604546598-3them their daily struggles and demands from their consumers brings what you’re doing on the farm full circle and adds a little perspective to the whole farm-to-plate food chain.”

“Anytime you can learn from others in the same industry who might have a different perspective, while interacting and having the social aspect of BLI, really strengthens the whole industry and the products we are providing consumers,” she says.

Amen.

For more information on the Beef Leaders Institute, visit http://www.angus.org/pub/newsroom/releases/121614_BLI%20Applications.aspx or to apply today, visit http://www.angusfoundation.org/Fdn/Files/2015BLIApplication.pdf

Applications are due March 2, so don’t delay!

~Kara

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