Cow-calf and stocker operator Anne Anderson from Austin, Texas, was elected by fellow Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) members to serve as CBB chairman in 2016. The vote came Jan. 29 during the 2016 Cattle Industry Annual Convention in San Diego, Calif.
Get to know Anne in the following interview: (click on the photo for a high res version)
Tell us about yourself and your history in the beef industry.
Anne: I grew up on the Gulf Coast on a small ranch in Columbus, Texas, and at the age of 1, was given my first calf. We (siblings and cousins) all owned cattle in a co-mingled herd, raised them throughout our school years, and then had the opportunity to sell our herd to help put ourselves through college.
I received my college degree in home economics/education and continued on to graduate school where I earned a Master’s in education for curriculum development, and also a Master’s in business. My thesis was “The Effectiveness of a Biocolation on Intermediate and Secondary Students”; my research was centered around nutrition and protein.
I was a therapeutic dietitian, then became a dietitian in the state system for two years. After that, I spent six years working in the dairy industry when I was hired by Texas Cattle Feeders as a Registered Dietitian. That was the time when we went to a voluntary $0.25 checkoff in Texas. I later participated in the writing of the legislation for the checkoff in Texas and served as the first executive director for the Texas Beef Council and served in that role for 10 years. But I’m an entrepreneur and had other things I wanted to do!
I went on to build vertically integrated supply-chain partnerships in the private sector.
I am active on the ranch every single day. We took a ranch that was in much disrepair and added wells, tanks, a central pen area, cross-fences, and built a beautiful heifer pasture. We did a 1031 exchange to a ranch in the hill country 155 miles west of Austin where forage resources were almost completely depleted. Myself and our small staff are committed to following the same improvement directions to enhance grazing capacity on the new ranch.
Anne: My predecessor was in the meat industry. Another member of our Beef Board officer team is in the dairy industry. I have spent 20 years in the beef industry. So what I like to think I bring to the table is experience, long-standing relationships and a positive attitude firmly based on the concept of teamwork.
Tell us about your family.
Anderson: My husband, Jim, and I own a small cattle ranch in Colorado County and a larger one, which I manage, in Menard and MuCulloch counties. We raise what I refer to as prime beef – Wagyu cattle. We also have an olive orchard and raise pen deer. Every day, we strive to build an economically and environmentally sustainable ranch.
We have two children, Morgan and Ross, and three grandchildren ages 1, 3 and 5.
What do you hope to accomplish during your year as chair?
Anne: Plain and simple, I am seeking active involvement from every single member of our Board and committees. Decisions about where checkoff dollars are invested are not made in a vacuum; they are not made based on staff directive. It truly is a grassroots producer-led organization, and I would like to see a higher level of commitment from our investors. I will also work to ensure the leadership that is provided is in accordance to the spirit of the checkoff.
What do you see as one of the biggest challenges facing the checkoff, and the industry?
Anne: Spending shrinking dollars in the most effective way, even if it involves change. We’ve gradually made changes, but one of the challenges we continually face is getting the most return on investment. Research says the opportunity for growth is by maintaining the domestic market we have and opening new global markets. But in light of supply and prices and economics, it’s a challenge to make the right decisions for everyone involved.
I also think diet and nutrition will be a driving force in the minds of our consuming public moving forward.
What would you like every investor to know about their Beef Checkoff Program?
Anne: The producers who are making decisions are making wise decisions. They are spending the time to be informed, and read, and study and think. Trust the checkoff. Be positive about the checkoff. And trust that the producers making those decisions about where your money is invested are getting the most possible for your dollar.
For more information about your beef checkoff invesment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.