Author Archives: BlackInkNicole

Raised in the Strawberry Mountains of Eastern Oregon, I’m a fan of wide open spaces and rural life. I didn't grow up in the beef industry, but I got here as fast as I could. My love for great stories, a well marbled steak and black cattle led me to Ohio where I consider myself blessed to blend my many passions into a "job" at CAB.
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Record Breaking Quality

Confession: I’m not really a “numbers” gal. My friends and I often joke about me doing “journalist math” as I am definitely more blessed with an affinity for words over anything numeric.

I do however, love when numbers tell a story.

While most spreadsheets would make me yawn, a quick look at packer data for the last week in July had our team smiling. For the first time ever, more than 100,000 beef carcasses were “certified” for our brand in one five-day period, the week of July 23 — meaning they all met the 10 CAB brand specifications. That’s a 10% increase in certified head over the same week last year. What’s even more impressive, it’s a 60% increase over the same week five years ago.

Certified Head

“It’s a good thing,” says Clint Walenciak, director of packing. “We can’t sell what the industry doesn’t produce.”

So how did that number grow so big, so fast?

Clint says it’s a combination of good management, cattle industry conditions and (positive) repercussions no one could have expected looking at that data sheet five years ago. In 2012, drought and market conditions spurred a steep culling of the beef cow herd, reducing the number of cattle in the U.S.

“As we rebuilt the cattle herd, it gave ranchers an opportunity to choose high-quality Angus genetics for replacements,” says Walenciak. “Those genetic improvements set the stage for a speedy growth in certified carcasses.”

A high-quality herd producing more cattle that meet Certified Angus Beef® brand specifications is a much better thing if demand keeps a similar pace.

It just so happens that for the very first time in the history of Certified Angus Beef LLC, July 2017 also marks the only time 100 million+ pounds of CAB has ever been sold in a single month. The record for certified cattle is matched with a record for CAB sales.

Monthly Sales

“It’s a statement to where we are in the cattle production cycle,” says Justin Sexten, director of supply development for the brand. “It’s exciting. There’s more cattle and higher quality cattle at a time where demand for the CAB brand is at an all-time high.”

5 years, 100,000 certified cattle in just one week, 100 million pounds of CAB sold in one month. It’s a lot of numbers to follow, but when we connect the dots, it’s a story of success that is evidence of the hard work of Angus ranchers.


Until next time,


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Nicole_Erceg_Certified Angus Beef_Internship
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Guess Who’s Back?

One of the first assignments I had as an industry information intern for Certified Angus Beef was to write a blog post. Simple task, but when I finished hammering out my word quota, the pressure suddenly mounted.

What would I use as my “sign-off” phrase?!

This photo and story visit was exactly three years ago to the date I’m writing this post! Click on the photo to read about the Lienemanns.

Everyone on the team had a witty or thoughtful ending that consistently wrapped up each post. For example Miranda’s: “May your bottom line be filled with black ink.” To me, this was my moment to create my own version of Walter Cronkite’s “and that’s the way it is”. The bar was set high.

Want to know what I finally decided on?


I couldn’t choose! I just signed my name for the first few posts. Lame, I know. Then… it came to me. Each blog thereafter was signed:

Until next time.

That’s probably a silly phrase for an intern to use since my time with the brand technically was limited. From the day I started, there was already an end date set in stone. However, something told me that somehow, someway there would always be a next time. Until next time seemed a fitting phrase because everyone I met that summer, on my adventures with the brand, I wanted to see again. I also hoped that you feel about this blog the way that I do — that the quality here is as excellent as the beef we write about and it always keeps you coming back for more.

I’m someone who believes in trusting your gut and it was right.

In the years since my CAB internship ended, I took other internships; I graduated from college (go K-State wildcats!); I got married; I moved across the country (North Carolina is beautiful y’all); and took a full-time position with another company. Yet, I continued to appear (although infrequently) on this blog.

Our latest Black Ink team picture with the "newbie" was at Ag Media Summit earlier this summer!

Our latest Black Ink team picture with the “newbie” was at Ag Media Summit earlier this summer!

Recently, I had another opportunity to go with my gut and take a much bigger leap of faith. Two weeks ago, my husband and I packed up our North Carolina home and relocated to Wooster, Ohio, so I could begin my career with CAB officially as the producer communications specialist. Now, you’ll be seeing quite a bit more of me on the blog (and other Black Ink platforms) and the time between my appearances will be much shorter.

I’m so excited to be the newest member of the team and I consider myself blessed to be “back” writing about the business breed, exceptional quality beef and the people who raise it.

Until next time,


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