Challenges for Cattle Producers

(Bob) The beef business in 2015 may be remembered for some of the highest prices, and quickest falls in history. For the Certified Angus Beef brand, it was an 11th consecutive sales growth year. But president John Stika says it’s notable for more than its 896-million-pound record. (Stika) This year was loaded with challenges. We saw the fourth year in a row in declines in the number of Angus cattle that were out there primarily just because of herd liquidation and still feeling the ramifications of that. Still, the producer base and the packers brought the third largest supply of CAB carcasses ever in our history. A number, 67,000 carcasses a week we still saw this year. (Bob) Their efforts pushed the annual CAB acceptance rate to 27.5% — a new record. Stika says cattlemen and women continue to respond to the market signals provided by the consumers. (Stika) Foodservice really led the train in Certified Angus Beef end-user sales this year, hitting an all-time high of 330 million pounds this year growing in excess of 8% and doing a phenomenal job represented this product in the form of end meats, middle meats, ground beef to consumers. (Bob) The stronger dollar meant challenges for CAB’s international division, but it overcame that and shipping problems to tie last year’s record. Most of those 120 million pounds went north and south of the U.S., as well as the Middle and Far East. (Bob) Stika says steady, long-term growth comes from starting with the right carcass-based specifications in 1978. (Stika) We have been trying to grow our relevance and significance to all aspects of all those involved in the production and merchandising side of beef, in particular premium beef. A lot has changed in those 37 years. We were about the only brand in the marketplace for the first half of that history. (Bob) Now there are more than 130 USDA certified beef brands but Stika welcomes the competition and notes the goal for 2016: “To get better.” I’m Bob Cervera.

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