Lots of folks think about changing the cattle market, but fewer think about changing their cattle to fit the market, said Tom Brink, CEO of the Red Angus Association of America.
“The reality is, we’re going to have to think about changing our cattle to better fit the market, because the market is bigger than all of us,” Brink explained at the recent Cattlemen’s College, sponsored by Zoetis, during the Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio.
His suggestion has everything to do with the ongoing transition of the beef business away from commodity production and marketing toward value-added production.
The notion is nothing new — it’s been at least a couple of decades in the making. What is new is a palpable sense of urgency. It feels like the industry is on the cusp of taking another major step in that direction.
“One thing we’re seeing happen like never before is what we might broadly call alignment between industry segments — not integration from an ownership standpoint, but alignment of the supply chain,” Brink said.
In part, thanks to technology, he explained that closer alignment between segments offers the opportunity to more effectively communicate and share market signals and product merit, as well as validate information and coordinate supply relative to specific markets.
Overall, Brink explained, value-added supply chains look for consistent quality, volume and a verifiable story that matters to consumers.
Borrowing from a definition of precision agriculture from the crop side, Brink offered a potential description for precision beef cattle