Education is part of beef promotion and sales. That’s as true within the beef industry as it is in selling beef to consumers.
Any of the 37 meat technical and sales professionals from Buckhead Beef Atlanta who came to Kensington Cattle Company, near Woodbury, Ga., for a ranch field day this spring would surely agree.
Kara Wilson, marketing specialist with the Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand, who helped organize the visit, summarizes: “The Buckhead team had an eye-opening experience, seeing the time, resources and financial commitment it takes to put out high-quality cattle.”
There were several demonstrations, but conversations took information exchange to a new level. The Angus farm’s managing partner, Roland Starnes, and customer service specialist, James Stice, talked openly about how the production world works.
To learn about the science and experienced judgment that goes into selecting high-quality animals for a registered purebred operation, the group had the opportunity to evaluate a pen of Angus cattle.
“We discussed genetic selection—how we balance carcass traits with ideal maternal traits, and how a good disposition relates back to high-quality beef and efficiency in the industry,” Starnes explains. Other topics came up in turn, from stewardship and natural resource management to such issues as hormones, Midwestern finishing on corn rations, antibiotics and locally grown.”
The group from Buckhead Beef, a top-ranked CAB distributor for more than 15 years, learned about the role grain finishing plays in developing the flavor in beef, but also came to understand how proper nutrition at each stage of life is essential to keeping up the potential for highest quality.
Amanda Wydner, CAB executive account manager for the Atlantic region, notes some chefs and restaurateurs are asking for “local products.”
“We must equip our distributors with an understanding of how it supports local farmers and ranchers when they offer the Certified Angus Beef brand,” she says. “Across the U.S., our brand has a positive impact on agriculture and sustaining family farms. We must take a proactive role in educating customers about how we connect with the grassroots of the beef industry.”
To close the day, the Buckhead Beef professionals learned ways to apply the knowledge they gained as selling points on the street.
Starnes appreciates all they do, too. “We are all in this together,” he observes. “This is a little something that we can give back to our industry as we help them help us sell more Certified Angus Beef.”
Kensington Cattle Co., a relatively new operation set up in 2008, works on building relationships from every angle.
“As we get our feet wet in this industry, we try to line up prospective buyers for our customers’ calves,” Starnes explains. To that end, he and Stice aim to help customers target the CAB brand and keep up with all American Angus Association programs.
“Basically it is a 365-day-a-year promotion and education process," he says with a grin. “From our customers to these folks selling our beef, we want to help them play the game or to be cheerleaders for our industry.”