John Ligo (pron. lie-go), dairy/beef producer from Pennsylvania and 2011 checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) award winner, says business success is his farm’s key driver. Decisions are made based first on the long-term business impact, with a high value placed on ethics, the image of agriculture, and simply doing the right thing.
Ligo 1: “I think in this case, it’s probably an overall philosophy that we work under and it meshes with BQA. I was particularly interested in BQA because, by definition and its goal, is to provide wholesome food with a high level of consumer confidence. We began farming 20 years ago and we’ve done very well with cattle, both dairy cattle and beef cattle. And in my mind, animal husbandry has three legs: those three legs are science and economics and compassion. And I think BQA is the distillation of those three things.” (:34 seconds)
Ligo embraces BQA concepts and applies them on his own farm.
Ligo 2: “I don’t know that we are really that innovative in what we do, but at the same time, we do rigorously try to keep all the pieces together. Not just feed and water for the performance, but also, we pay attention to the socialization of cattle. We find that our young calves do much better when they’re in pairs, or groups, or even numbers. We find with our beef calves that it’s much better not to put a late calver in there – that calf will always be behind. I have young people employed with me and it’s always better to have cattle that are attractable and easy to handle and well socialized. And at the same time, the science part of it, we try to stay on the cutting edge of what’s available as far as pharmaceuticals, and feed additives and feed ration balancing.” (:44 seconds)
Being BQA-certified helps build consumer trust and confidence and provides more profit opportunities for your operation. Ligo says by becoming certified, you’re telling consumers that you are willing to take responsibility for the end product — and that you’re proud for them to know it came from your farm.
Ligo 3: “I think that’s why so many of us are here right now – it’s all about getting our product sold. I really believe that we are blessed with a really abundant food supply, and what that does, it allows people to be very choosy about what they eat. BQA is one of the tools that we have to highlight how wholesome our food is and the care that we take in producing it. To my fellow producers out there, I just say, you’re doing a right and noble thing – do it right, connect with the end user – that’s not only where your beef has to go but that’s where the money comes from.” (:29 seconds)
Ligo and his wife, Judy, are always open to learning new ways to do things on their farm that will improve the quality of life of the cattle and/or the caretakers. He tells us what he sees for the future of the industry and the modern beef consumer.
Ligo 4: “We are looking at connecting directly to the consumer with our beef, and retailing – I think there’s a lot of margin to be added in the marketing of beef, and specifically the marketing to consumers as in – I think we are going to be able to offer to a consumer to build their own beef. Do you want a cross-bred, do you want a purebred? Do you want a 600-pound carcass, do you want a 700-pound carcass? Do you want it grass fed, do you want it corn fed? And connecting with people and offering to build them their beef, is one way that I think we can further enhance the tie with the consumer.” (:33 seconds)