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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Educate, Network, Engage!

For many college students across the country, this week is when the spring semester kicks into full swing. The long winter break back home at the family farm or ranch has come to an end. It can be a bittersweet transition trading chores for studying – for at least part of the day. However, some beef industry scholars took this year’s winter break as an opportunity to fit in some extra and unique classroom time.

Last fall we encouraged young Angus leaders from across the country to apply for five additional seats to our Building Blocks for Success Seminar, and were we ever impressed with the young adults who answered our call!


Scholarship recipients (L to R): Tara Leytham, Iowa; Ben Conner, Kentucky; Tyler Thomas, Oregon; Travis Schiefelbein, Minnesota; Cheyann Lovett, Nebraska

Today’s blog post is dedicated to their experience as a part of the class, and some of my observations as a lucky staff member who got to be with them for the event.


Whether you’ve read about one of our staff members in our “Nice to Meat Ya” series or you’ve been intrigued by one of our “Myth Buster Monday” posts, we hope that somewhere along the way you’ve learned that the scope of what Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) does is broader than what you may have initially thought. Our Building Blocks attendees get hands-on experience that allows for an elevated understanding of that scope.

From brand assurance, to value-added products, to high-end restaurant marketing – we want the next generation of cattle producers to understand how leveraging their brand adds value to what they are doing back at the farm and the ranch.

Phil withGroup“It’s really neat to see how CAB is able to take that brand and impact all aspects from gate to plate,” said Ben Conner, one of the scholarship recipients from Kentucky. “It’s really neat to see what they’re doing for the Angus industry, but also the beef industry as a whole.”


The cattle business is as much about people as it is cattle. The Building Blocks seminar brought our scholarship recipients together with several young leaders including the National Junior Angus Association Board and the National Beef Ambassadors. Connecting with peers provides broader industry perspective and gives our staff a chance to stay in touch with what the cattle business looks like from your point of view.

Staying Connected

Evan Woodbury

NJAA Board member Evan Woodbury stayed engaged with the Black Ink team via Facebook after Building Blocks to win a GeneMax jacket last week at the National Western Stock Show!

Two years before I accepted my job with CAB, I got my first impression of the company at a Building Blocks seminar. Some of our attendees will go back to their family cattle business and take on leadership positions. Others may go on to work in ruminant nutrition, large animal pharmaceutical sales, ag journalism, or pursue careers in academia. The point is – no matter where your career takes you, the CAB team wants to keep you engaged.

Our social media outlets are a start, but anytime we have a chance to interact with our breeders face to face, the opportunity is welcomed!

Congratulations to our scholarship winners who joined us this year, and special thanks to the Angus Foundation for their help in funding the effort.

We look forward to another great class next year!


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beef ambassadors 2014
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Apply today for a seat at the CAB table

“Take advantage of every opportunity!” That was something of a mantra for me in college. If there was a conference to go to or an agriculture speaker on campus, I was probably there.

Know a college student who fits that mold or recognize yourself in that description?

The Angus delegation at last year’s Building Blocks for Success Seminar

If it sound like something you or someone you know might want to take advantage of, read on:

On January 5-6, 2015, CAB will host the Building Blocks for Success Seminar in Wooster, Ohio. The seminar has welcomed the NJAA Board of Directors, Miss American Angus and the National Beef Ambassador team for many years. This year as we partner with the Angus Foundation, five additional qualified candidates will win an all-expense-paid trip to join the class!

CAB will accept applications through November 15, 2014. Eligible applicants must be junior, regular or life members of the American Angus Association and must be 17-22 years old by Sept. 1, 2014

Participants in the Building Blocks for Success Seminar will experience personal growth as an Angus leader through the following:

     Insight about the marketing message used to create pull-through demand for the best Angus beef.

    A look inside the global protein market and where the Certified Angus Beef ® brand fits.

    Learn what the ultimate beef consumer wants – beyond the pasture.

    An interactive carcass grading and fabrication session with corporate meat scientist, Dr. Phil Bass.

    See how the value created by the brand equates to more dollars for registered Angus breeders.

    Network with staff members and other young beef industry leaders from across the country.

 Applications are due via email or postmarked by November 15th. DEADLINE EXTENDED to November 21st. Visit to download the application today!


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Back to school, part II

Yesterday Kara talked about seeing the familiar with a different perspective. Read on today as she discusses other valuable takeaways from her involvement in the Young Cattlemen’s Conference.

IMG_7809New Classmates & Professors

The networking and relationship-building I took home from YCC was one of the most valuable pieces. It made me stop and wonder: how many other seminars have I attended where I flock to the people in the audience I know and go home with very few (if any) new contacts? Since YCC, I have reached out to at least one classmate or presenter – who I never knew prior to the conference – at least once a week. It’s been a great way to build mentors and have industry peers for idea sharing.

My challenge: The next seminar you go to, seek out at least one new face. Find out what they do and try to find a way that you can learn from them and make your business better. Listen to a session with a speaker you’ve never heard (or heard of), and approach them afterwards with questions. You might want to reach out to that person in the future and they are more likely to remember the person that came up to talk to them afterwards.

Make Time

DSC_0454I know it’s easy for cattlemen to neglect off-site learning opportunities because you just don’t have time. Make time. It’s as simple as that. I am certain the workload I left behind for my 10 days at YCC was very light compared to many of my classmates and it’s easy to worry about what’s going on back home, but the long-term benefits for your business are counting on your professional development.

My challenge: Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to make yourself better. Each summer the American Angus Association hosts their Beef Leaders’ Institute, which is a great week-long opportunity to broaden your horizons on high-quality beef production. Heading to San Antonio for the annual Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show next February? Check in a day early and take in the Cattlemen’s College sessions. Find a new educational opportunity and take hold of it! For some, it may be as simple as formally completely a BQA certification that you never finished. Set a goal – maybe you think in semesters and choose two a year, but identify your opportunities and start today.


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Back to school

Brooklyns First Day of Big Presschol (1 of 1)

I enjoyed seeing many pictures in my newsfeed the past few weeks, including this one of Miranda’s oldest daughter.

Around our house the changing of the summer season is usually commemorated by the turning of crops, preparations for weaning, and a little relief from sweltering humidity. When you don’t live in a world that runs on semesters, it’s easy to forget that the end of summer also means back to school for so many families.

For the last few weeks it’s been impossible to overlook all the signs that school is back in session. Parents post photos of their kids, college students have moved back to campus, and my mother, a high school math teacher on Eastern Time, tends to be a little grumpier when I call her at 10:00 p.m. on a school night from my Central Time zone (Sorry, Mom!). It’s enough to make a person just a bit nostalgic about the days when you could dedicate the majority of your time to formal learning.

As cattlemen and women, it’s sure easy enough to get caught up in all of the chores and responsibilities around the farm and ranch. We try to keep up with the news and research articles as best we can. Although, if your coffee table is anything like ours, it carefully cradles every Ag magazine and newspaper published between the start of planting and the end of hay season. You know you’ll get to them eventually after you get those spring calves weaned.

photoSometimes there’s a lot of value in geographically removing yourself from your cattle business to take time and enhance your own learning. This summer, I had the opportunity to do just that through NCBA’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC).

It’s a big commitment to spend 10 days jet-setting between three different time zones, but the value was ten-fold the sacrifices to be there. Not every learning excursion can be so in-depth, but there are several fundamental lessons from off-the-ranch training beyond just the new material.

Reviewing Current

It’s true. Some of the material we covered in YCC wasn’t all that new to me. I had a relatively decent grasp on some of the consumer beef demand topics, but it was not a waste of my time to hear it again. It’s valuable to see someone new present familiar information. I learned new ways to explain answers to common questions, and likewise heard questions I’d never considered.

My challenge: Don’t let an old familiar topic deter you from attending a cattlemen’s meeting. You may have a great vaccination program in place for your herd. A public forum on herd health might have new research to make it even better. Never become complacent about the things you’re already really good at.


All our tours were at operations that were “all in” for their segment of beef production. As it turns out, there’s a lot that ranchers can learn from burger processors, farm equipment developers can learn from legislators, and feedyard managers can learn from meat scientists. Spending time with people who are some of the best in their business is a great way to gain perspective. Even though we all have different jobs along the way, there are a lot of strategies that aren’t that different. While visiting with the JBS corporate team, one leader said the packing industry used to look at everything as one big pie and everyone was trying to get a bigger piece. He said today we need to challenge that thinking by figuring out how we can make the pie bigger. We can all put that logic to work.

My challenge: Chances are all your focus lies in whatever segment you’re in. If you’re a cow-calf operator, you spend the minimal amount of time necessary understanding the world of cattle feeding. When you head to a conference, take in a session that is targeted towards a different arm of the beef business.

New faces and making time—tune in tomorrow to read the rest of Kara’s lessons learned from YCC.


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Sale time

Resources for both commercial and seedstock ranchers

We’ll be well into bull sale season soon. For our readers who are commercial producers, thinking ahead to those sales, it seems like the perfect time to bring this blog post back up: Bull buying made simple.

We’ve seen quite a few of these jackets out at stock show. This post tells you how you can score your own.

If you’re a registered breeder gearing up for your 2014 bull sale, you aren’t alone. This week at the National Western Stock Show, I’ve heard lots of breeders discuss their sale preparations – and progress toward the goal of a completed sale catalog.

This is a great time to remind anyone in the planning stage about sale catalog resources from CAB.

Every sale catalog layout has extra space here and there. Why not fill it quickly while educating customers about the genomic tools available to them? Investing in YOUR registered Angus bulls is their first step, but they can capitalize on that investment by incorporating DNA tools like GeneMax™ (GMX).

We have print-ready GMX “ads” ready to fill those spaces of various sizes, color or black and white print. If you decide to use one of these ads in your catalog, be sure to send us a copy! We’d love to send you some free GMX swag as a way to say thanks!

To access the print-ready file of your choice, please contact me at or 330-345-2333.


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