BRAND UPDATE 2018
Managing Editor: Jennifer Schertz
Senior Editor: Steve Suther
Art Director: David Barry
Designer: Tina Melicant
Circulation Manager: Beth Barner
Contributing Writers: Laura Conaway, Nicole Erceg,
Jennifer Kiko, Courtney Middleton, Bryan Schaaf,
President: John F. Stika, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President: Brent Eichar
Vice Presidents: Tracey Erickson,
David MacVane, Mark McCully, Mark Polzer
2018-19 Board of Directors:
Jerry Connealy, Chairman, Whitman, Neb.
John F. Grimes, Hillsboro, Ohio
James W. Henderson, Childress, Texas
Mike McCravy,* Bowdon, Ga.
Dwight “Kip” Palmer, Rochester, N.Y.
Jonathan Perry, Fayetteville, Tenn.
Mick Varilek, Geddes, S.D.
Allen Moczygemba, Vice Chairman, CEO American
Angus Association ® , St. Joseph, Mo.
John F. Stika, Certified Angus Beef LLC,
Brent Eichar,* Secretary Treasurer, Certified Angus
Beef LLC, Wooster, Ohio
*New board member
Board Member through
David Dal Porto, Chairman, Oakley, Calif.
American Angus Association ®
c/o Certified Angus Beef LLC
206 Riffel Road
Wooster, OH 44691-8588 USA
The Certified Angus Beef ® brand name
and marks are service/trademarks of
Certified Angus Beef LLC.
It’s hard to imagine it today, but 40 years ago, beef was just beef. Then,
something happened: the Certified Angus Beef ® brand was created.
Like all pioneers, the cattlemen who started the world’s first premium
brand of beef did so because no one told them it couldn’t be done.
While their initial goal was to create a better way to market beef, what
they actually created was a movement. It’s one that would forever
Today, the Certified Angus Beef ® brand is an internationally recognized
mark of quality and the standard by which all other beef is judged.
But more than product quality – which always has been, and always will
be, central to the brand – it’s a community of people. From farm to plate,
each one of us is necessary to deliver the brand to the dinner tables of
consumers worldwide. Each one contributes passion, pride, creativity and
commitment to maintain the brand’s relevance, elevate its reputation,
and help it fulfill its mission of creating demand and adding value for
The quality beef movement that the brand has led depends upon efforts
of the entire community. Like rungs on a ladder, each advancing year
builds on the last, and our collective and individual success is testament
to the quality of our people.
To be a part of a community inherently means we are a part of something
bigger than ourselves. The more intentional we are in understanding one
another, and learning from one another, the better we will be able to
support one another. No matter our individual role, we’re all connected
by a common thread.
Our stories comprise the brand’s story. It’s one that started with an idea,
and one that continues to grow and flourish. As remarkable as the past
40 years have been, I believe – thanks to the dynamic, passionate and
principled community behind the Certified Angus Beef ® brand – we have
an equally remarkable future ahead of us.
Thank you for your unwavering commitment to the brand we’ve built
together. Our team looks forward to helping you achieve even greater
success as we look forward.
© 2018 Volume 22, Issue 1,
published annually. All rights reserved.
The barn at Ulrich Farms, Allenwood, Pa. was one of
40 painted with the brand’s famous logo in 2018.
See story, Page 34.
President John F. Stika, Ph.D.
On behalf of the Certified Angus Beef LLC Board of Directors, as we
look back over another record-breaking year, it is with great pride we
thank everyone who has a hand in it. What makes the Certified Angus
Beef ® brand so uniquely successful are the many layers of the business
that work in concert. Each derives great satisfaction in what they do,
but also takes a positive interest in every other aspect of the supply
chain. That common cause makes each of us an important part of
the brand family.
We have seen the rate of carcasses meeting all of the brand’s standards
soar in the last few years from 17% to more than 30%. Angus farmers
and ranchers, both registered and commercial, have embraced the
continued production of high-quality Angus beef. We have been
aggressive in using the tools available to us to produce more beef
that meets the brand’s stringent specifications. Those standards,
quality and consistency set it apart from any other branded beef on
the market. Family ranchers have enjoyed the increased demand for
high-quality Angus feeder cattle and registered Angus bulls, and will
continue to produce more, and more superior, Angus cattle.
What is so gratifying to ranching families is that the more we are able
to produce, the more value our partners and staff are able to add to
it. From the feeders, to the packers, to the many different layers that
market the brand to consumers, all with the help of the brand’s expert
staff, we say thank you!
The people I have met and interacted with these last several years have
left a lasting impression on me, the brand’s board of directors, and
the entire Angus community. It’s your commitment to the success
of our product, and our drive to live up to those high expectations,
that will keep the Certified Angus Beef ® brand the envy of every other
branded beef program.
As we move into the years ahead, I am confident in the continued
success and growth of our business, and yours.
David Dal Porto
Chairman, 2017-18 Certified Angus Beef LLC Board of Directors
PARTNERS PROPEL SALES TO NEW HEIGHTS
A worldwide beacon of quality, Certified Angus
Beef ® brand sales of 1.21 billion pounds
were recorded in Fiscal 2018. That’s the 12th
consecutive annual sales record, extending a
14-year streak of year-over-year growth and
the third year for sales above 1 billion pounds.
The 8.1% increase represents an additional 91
million pounds of high-quality beef raised by
quality-minded farmers and ranchers to meet
steadily growing consumer demand.
“For the past 40 years, a community of people
from farm to plate – each necessary to deliver
the Certified Angus Beef ® brand to dinner tables
around the world – have shared much: a
passion for excellence, a dedication to quality,
and ideas and inspirations to achieve our
goals,” said John Stika, the brand’s president.
“Along the way, we’ve built relationships on
trust and a shared vision. By doing so, what
started out as a simple idea among a small
group of cattlemen has become the world’s
leading brand of beef.”
The brand set sales records in all 12 months
of its 40th anniversary year, and seven of the
brand’s 10 highest sales months in history were
in 2018. More than 100 million pounds were
sold in the months of March, May, June, July,
August and September, with August being the
most successful month ever recorded.
True to its inception in 1978, a community
of farmers and ranchers remain the backbone
of the brand, committed to supplying
consumers with consistent and pleasurable
eating experiences. Their efforts to raise
quality cattle enabled licensed processors,
distributors, restaurateurs and retailers to
meet this growing demand for premium beef.
Responding to economic signals from the
consumer marketplace, cattlemen raised a
record 5.18 million cattle that met all of the
brand’s requirements last year – an increase
of 14.3% over 2017. Further, the rate of cattle
eligible to earn the brand name rose to a record
32.5%, up from just 17.8% a decade ago.
EVERY DIVISION SETS RECORDS
A global network of nearly 20,000 licensed
partners found individual business success
through brand recognition in retail meat cases
and on restaurant menus. Manageable prices
in concert with strong demand led to sales
records in every division of the Certified Angus
Beef ® brand.
The most robust growth took place in the
International Division, with 207 million
pounds exported to 50 countries outside the
United States – an 18.6% increase over last
year and the best in the brand’s history. What
comprised more than one-third of total brand
growth was due to the strong market in South
Korea, followed by Canada, Japan, Hong
Kong and Mexico.
Quality-focused retailers remained the
largest contributor to total brand sales, at
approximately 41%. A more favorable price
spread relative to commodity beef options
led to more Certified Angus Beef ® brand items
featured in circulars, thus growing retail sales
by 8.3% to a new high of 494 million pounds.
Nearly 11,000 licensed restaurants are
included in the Foodservice Division, which
netted sales of 405.5 million pounds, a
5.3% increase. The division boasted a ninth
consecutive year of record sales, further proof
of the brand’s value to chefs and restaurateurs
who prize its consistent quality, and patrons
who crave its flavor.
Processors responded to growing consumer
demand for high-quality convenience meals
in both retail and foodservice with branded
value-added products. Sales rose by 8.1% to
29.2 million pounds, driven most by smoked
brisket, marinated fajita meat and burgers in
the frozen case.
BALANCED CATEGORY GROWTH
Illustrating a steady desire from the industry’s
most discerning customers, and the rising tide
of quality at the ranch, sales of the brand’s
exclusive Prime product extension achieved its
highest growth ever at 31.2%.
Continuing a trend from last year, the brand
experienced a balanced rate of growth across
product categories. Backed by traditionally
strong demand, particularly for celebrations
and special occasions, sales of middle meats
(premium steaks) grew by 6.5% over last
year. Reflecting continued consumer appeal
for a better burger, ground beef increased
10.3% over 2017. Sales of roasts and other
end meats, which are often the centerpiece of
family meals, rose by 8.2%.
Total sales: 1.12 billion lbs. (up 8.1%)
12th consecutive record year
Year-over-year growth since 2004
494 MILLION LBS. 5.3 %
405.5 MILLION LBS. 18.6 %
207 MILLION LBS. SAME
105.5 MILLION LBS.
772 MILLION LBS. 6.5 %
265 MILLION LBS. 10.3 %
175 MILLION LBS. 8.1 %
ANGUS-INFLUENCED CATTLE ID
CAB ACCEPTANCE RATE
29.2 MILLION LBS.
For those already well acquainted with the Certified Angus Beef ® brand,
the question posed by Chowhound, a popular website for food
lovers, seems disarmingly simple:
“What’s the difference between Angus beef and ‘regular’ beef?”
The answer, of course, is simple: Angus is a breed of cattle, which
grew popular, in part, because of its ability to produce meat with
more flavorful marbling. And, that’s the answer the reporter shared
in a story published over Memorial Day weekend.
“If you’re thinking, ‘Whoa, that’s it? I thought it also meant
something about the superiority of the beef,’ trust me,” the piece
continued. “You’re not alone.”
Indeed, the confusion is real, even among foodies, meat lovers and
aspiring gourmands, like Chowhound followers. That’s why the better
question is, perhaps, “What’s the difference between the Certified
Angus Beef ® brand and ‘regular’ Angus beef?”
That question is especially relevant after a
decades-long trend of cattlemen increasingly
choosing Angus genetics for their herds.
Two-thirds of fed cattle in the U.S. are black
hided today, so there’s more Angus than
Of course, these Angus cattle must also
meet the brand’s strict specifications in
order for the beef to earn the logo and return
$50 or more per head in grid premiums to
the rancher. Responding to these market
signals for higher quality, farmers’ efforts
have resulted in greater rates of Angus cattle
qualifying for the brand – reaching an alltime
high of nearly 33% in 2018 – but the
fact remains: two-thirds of Angus beef still
doesn’t measure up.
In short, the Certified Angus Beef ® brand is
the best of the entire Angus category, which
Chowhound explained with insight on our
10 specifications, how it is evaluated and
that consumers need only look for the logo
to ensure a great eating experience.
That promise remains the brand’s biggest
opportunity to educate.
“We have successfully marketed the Certified
Angus Beef ® brand as an indicator of quality
over the past 40 years, and need to keep
helping consumers understand that ‘Angus’
doesn’t necessarily indicate quality – but
the brand name does,” says Marketing Vice
President Tracey Erickson. “The brand not
only delivers value to consumers, but also
to partners who market the brand and
know it is an important point of difference
that elevates their businesses in their
Being able to position and communicate
those strengths relative to other beef is
important, says Josh Hahn, Meijer’s director
of marketing for promotional advertising
and vendor partnerships.
“I’ve only been on the food side of the
business for a little over a year now, and I
didn’t understand the difference between
the Certified Angus Beef ® brand and another
Angus beef,” he says. “But when I had the
opportunity to learn, and understand, the
brand’s focus on quality, it blew my mind to
realize what the differences were. I definitely
talk about the brand differently than I did
before. It’s amazing to see firsthand all of
the work and science that goes into it.”
Communicating that message to consumers
is the next step. Whether it’s through
traditional point-of-sale materials, circular
ads, social media or other creative ways
to share the brand’s story, partners want
to educate and engage, boost recognition
of the brand, and keep consumers coming
back to its proven quality.
Understanding unique differences from
other Angus beef is at the center of the
brand’s new, harder-hitting advertising
campaign. A full range of customizable
resources, from signs to billboards to truck
wraps to circular ads, clearly positions
the brand as the best beef within the
Angus category, and its distinctive logo –
recognized by 95% of consumers – as an
easy way to determine the quality choice in
the meat case.
“When I had the
opportunity to learn,
and understand, the
brand’s focus on
quality, it blew my
mind to realize what
the differences were.”
Josh Hahn, Meijer
Harder-hitting ads help explain the quality difference between Angus beef, and the
Certified Angus Beef ® brand. Above, Hawaii’s Foodland stores welcomed visitors with
airport advertising. At right, Blue Ribbon Meats’ trucks tout the difference on the road.
“We have successfully marketed the Certified Angus Beef ® brand
as an indicator of quality over the past 40 years, and need
to keep helping consumers understand that ‘Angus’ doesn’t
necessarily indicate quality – but the brand name does.”
Tracey Erickson, Vice President, Marketing
Certified Angus Beef LLC
eef Comes to
Move over, chicken: there’s something new in prepared foods.
Solving the “what’s for dinner” dilemma in an innovative way,
retailers and Golden West Food Group, Vernon, Calif., have given
consumers more reasons to shop deli rotisseries: Certified Angus
Beef ® brand beef roasts. The first-of-its-kind Beeftisserie ® roasts
offer customers a flavorful, versatile and satisfying alternative
to chicken. Plus, with no bones about it, it’s easy to serve with
Mark Gwin, from the brand’s value-added products team, helped
develop the item, satisfying his years-long curiosity about bringing
beef to the rotisserie.
“We found the right fit,” Gwin says. “Beef is the No. 1 driver to the
meat case – and it should be in the rotisserie, as well.”
in the Kitchen
Spicedblog.com food writer David Dial of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.,
is immersed in a world of ingredients, techniques and flavors –
but he knows his readers often look to him and others for help
in becoming better cooks. One area where that seems to be
especially true is with beef.
“When you go into a meat case, it’s confusing,” he says. “You’re
faced not only with multiple types of proteins, but also different
cuts, different labels. It can be very difficult to go into a store and
pick out what you want, or even know what you’re looking for.”
He appreciates that the Certified Angus Beef ® brand is a great
starting point for building confidence in the kitchen.
“When I’m at a store, trying to select a cut of meat, and I see a
case that’s dozens of feet long and I can’t figure out what to do, I
know that if I see that logo, it’s going to be a quality piece of meat.
That’s step No. 1,” Dial says.
After that? “I have to take it home and know what to do with it,
even though starting with a good product is going to help me get
good results in the end.”
Chef Gavin Pinto, the brand’s Test Kitchen
manager, and food blogger Jessica Formicola
of SavoryExperiments.com, are filmed as they
walk viewers through a recipe.
Answering that question is essential to helping
consumers fully appreciate the brand’s quality
and the superior eating experience it can
provide. That’s why it’s essential to meet
consumers — from novices to experts — where
they are, by sharing the tools they need to be
successful in the kitchen.
Social media influencers and bloggers like
Dial are an important part of that approach,
because their endorsement offers a level of
credibility that can’t be achieved otherwise.
In the past year, the brand’s Test Kitchen,
where recipes and cooking techniques are
developed, tested and perfected by the
in-house chef team, welcomed several social
influencers for crossover opportunities.
The most popular were Facebook Live videos,
where consumers could take a virtual seat in
the Test Kitchen while one of the brand’s
chefs and a guest influencer presented a
recipe or highlighted a technique. Viewers,
often people who are passionate about
cooking, barbecue and other culinary
topics, asked questions, engaged with the
experts in real time and played an active
part in the conversation.
Video is increasingly how stories are told
online, and cooking is a topic ideal for
the medium. Whether recorded in the
Test Kitchen, on the road at barbecue or
grilling events, or in a studio, food videos
connect with different types of audiences
and promote the brand in the digital space.
Whether it’s a 30-second video highlighting
a family-friendly weeknight meal idea or a
long-form, step-by-step exploration of an
advanced technique, the goal is the same:
give the viewer the tools they need to choose
and prepare the Certified Angus Beef ® brand
“When I’m at a store, I
know that if I see that
logo, it’s going to be a
quality piece of meat.”
David Dial, SpicedBlog.com
Brand partners also use video more and
more to boost engagement and build
customer loyalty. Giant Eagle created a
six-part, web-based cooking video series,
“Raise Your BARB-IQ,” featuring brand Test
Kitchen Chef Gavin Pinto, introduced to
consumers via circulars and social media.
Customers who watched all six videos were
rewarded with a “Certified Grill Master
The grand prize in Giant Eagle’s Raise Your Barb-IQ promotion
was a weekend cooking class at the brand’s Culinary Center.
Certificate,” as well as a chance to win
the grand prize. That featured a visit to
brand headquarters in Wooster, Ohio, for a
weekend of cooking classes at The Culinary
Center, and a visit to a local Angus farm.
Attendees even put their skills to the test
during a cook-off.
BEEF FOR BRUNCH
ON NATIONAL STAGE
The brand’s goal of educating consumers was
realized before a national audience, when
Executive Chef Ashley Breneman, herself a
mother-to-be, was invited to share an easy yet
elegant Mother’s Day steak recipe on Fox &
Friends Sunday edition. Besides serving 75 special
guests at the show’s New York City studio plaza,
Breneman offered on-air advice to millions of
viewers, positioning the Certified Angus Beef ®
brand as the very best Angus beef and offering
practical tips for home cooks everywhere.
on the Plate
Eye of round pâté. Bourbon-cured top round. Shanghai beef
belly. Beef hough (aka shank). They’re all cutting-edge culinary
creations not found on many, if any, restaurant menus today –
but that could change, thanks to the influence and impact of the
leading culinary masters applying their creativity to their preferred
canvas: Certified Angus Beef ® brand cuts.
No matter how you slice it, this top-quality product is hitting the
plate in ways never seen before, just about everywhere you look.
Whether it’s new – or underutilized – cuts, traditional cuts simply
butchered differently, or unique cooking techniques applied
to tried-and-true favorites, culinary professionals all over are
discovering new horizons with the protein of celebration. Chefs
who are partial to the brand are at the forefront of this movement
– both at the brand’s Culinary Center and in their own kitchens.
Certified Angus Beef ® brand
Culinary Innovator of the Year:
Chef Simon Brown, Seafood
R’Evolution, Jackson, Miss.
Chef Simon Brown from Seafood R’evolution
in Jackson, Miss., holds the brand’s 2018 title
of Culinary Innovator, honoring restaurant
chefs who push the creative bounds of beef
on the plate. One achievement capturing
attention was Brown’s Certified Angus Beef ®
short rib tomahawk, which looks like a longbone
steak but eats like a buttery piece of
A native of Scotland, Brown explained he
was trained to use every possible cut – a
mindset that helps jumpstart his creativity as
he thinks about the best ways to showcase
each one. He also seeks inspiration from
other culinary traditions – in this case,
American barbecue, cooked low and slow
to create a meltingly tender texture.
Though on its face a restaurant specializing
in seafood, Brown says he and partners
Chef John Folse and Chef Rick Tramonto
want Seafood R’evolution to be known for
its beef, as well. Exceeding expectations in
quality, creativity and execution is essential,
as is blending the influences and expertise
for which they’re known: seafood, Louisiana
Cajun Creole and Northern Italian via
Brown represents just one of the many chefs
intent on upending the status quo and
showcasing beef in interesting, delicious
and original ways.
Venture to the outskirts of Chicago and
experience Greg and Kristina Gaardbo’s
Chicago Culinary Kitchen, where seemingly
each week the pair serves up something
new and interesting at their weekends-only
restaurant. Some recent iterations include
Maryland-style smoked pit beef sandwiches
using Certified Angus Beef ® bottom round
flat; 40-oz. tomahawk steaks dry-aged on
premise and lovingly referred to as the
“Big Hoss;” and a smoked full short plate
dubbed “Beef Wings.” The pair also serve a
butterflied tomahawk, which they named a
“Scorpion Steak” in honor of the formidable
arachnid it resembles. The knife work not
only allows for a faster cook time, but an
even more impressive plate presentation.
Of course, when it comes to beef innovation,
no one spends more time turning ideas into
reality than Tony Biggs, the brand’s director
of culinary arts, alongside the entire culinary
team of chefs and meat scientists.
While many of his creations are influenced
by his years cooking overseas in the
Middle East and Asia, Biggs pulled a real
showstopper from his bag of tricks at
the brand’s Annual Conference, roasting
an entire side of beef on a custom-built
spit on the beach in Maui. While many
hypothesized about how such an endeavor
would turn out, Biggs’ confidence was well
placed, as the 12-hour cook was not only
visually impressive, but also produced
hundreds of pounds of flavorful, slowroasted
beef perfect for any application.
Biggs was also the driving force behind the
brand’s inaugural Culinary Ideation Day,
where all six Certified Angus Beef ® brand
chefs were given three days to bring their
wildest beef ideas to fruition. The results
from this “culinary think tank” included a
wide-ranging menu of cuts, applications
and flavors – including creative dishes from
the round and a cured top sirloin “coulox”
– that illustrate their quest.
That quest is not only to further elevate
the brand experience, but also to inspire
fellow chefs, beef-lovers, influencers and
consumers as well, offering out-of-thebox
ideas and conversation starters that
deliver value and innovation.
ONE PLATE AT A TIME
Taste is king, but culinary stories evoke all the senses. That’s
why Instagram, with its focus on visual impact, is the go-to
digital platform for sharing dishes and kitchen inspiration with
innovative chefs, beef lovers and flavor seekers who join the
conversation and help build buzz online.
Visual storytellers play an important part in sharing the
brand’s stories written over 40 years of flavor. Among those
who have been a part of the community since the early days
are Debragga, New York’s Butcher ® , and Chef John Doherty,
whose illustrious career ranges from leadership of the iconic
Bull and Bear Steakhouse at the Waldorf=Astoria to his
current restaurant, Blackbarn.
The influential ambassadors welcomed a group of food, lifestyle
and Hispanic media guests and social influencers into their
businesses last summer. They showcased their roles in the
brand community, ranging from a tour of the cut shop’s storied
dry-aging room, to an exclusive eight-course, beef-centric meal
at Blackbarn. Besides social media posts that reached the
influencers’ million followers, media coverage highlighted the
brand’s quality and positioned its community as resources for
future stories about beef.
Relationships between the brand and influencers remained
strong all year, with participants, like Ben Hon @stuffbeneats,
David “Rev” Cianciao @revciancio, Jason Baker @jasoneats and
Vinnie Todarello @johnnyprimecc, joining up with the brand at
other chef-focused events to keep the storytelling going among
an ever-widening audience hungry for more.
A rotisserie big enough for an entire side of beef
isn’t something you see every day, but the brand’s
Director of Culinary Arts Tony Biggs brought his
vision to life on the beach in Maui.
“What an incredible day! We got to see
how DeBragga dry ages their meats
and also how they maintain such great
quality products. Then, we capped off
the night at one of my new favorite
spots, Blackbarn. So good!”
Culinary artistry, creative presentations and a spirit of innovation
define the dishes of those who use the Certified Angus Beef ® brand as
their canvas. Building on the brand’s quality, these vanguards pair
science with art and flavor with feeling to create beef experiences
like no other. The hub of this creativity is the brand’s Wooster,
Ohio, Culinary Center, with chefs finding inspiration that takes
root on their own menus around the world.
Shoes (or Boots)
Chef Jeremiah Bacon, Oak Steakhouse, Charleston, S.C., and Angus Farmer Kevin Yon, Ridge Spring, S.C.
Its reputation is built on product quality, but people – those
responsible for that quality – remain the core of the Certified Angus
Beef ® brand. From beginning to end, they keep it alive through
an unrivaled commitment. Often, that’s despite little or no
interaction with those further down the line. Packer speaks to
distributor, farmer to feeder, but what about some of the less
At left, Bacon advises Yon in the kitchen at Oak Steakhouse; above, Bacon and Yon on horseback at the farm.
For three years, the Certified Angus Beef ®
Regardless of any association with the
“We’re on the two-yard line here,”
brand has brought beef’s bookends
brand, there’s no doubt there’s plenty
Bacon added with new enlightenment.
together through a series called “Trading
to learn by time spent in someone else’s
A day earlier, he was on horseback
Places.” The goal: to provide experience
shoes – or boots for that matter. By
driving cattle, driving the feed truck
by doing and perspective by seeing,
understanding the expertise along the
and tagging a newborn calf. Education
ultimately strengthening the quality beef
chain, each part can identify the value
and real experience provided an
chain through relationships and a better
they bring to the sum.
understanding of the other side.
“I don’t know if you consider yourselves
“I didn’t realize what a precise process
Ranchers and chefs, no matter how different
part of agriculture, but we do consider
it was,” Yon said after grabbing a knife
their worlds appear at first, are on the same
you very much a part of agriculture,” Yon
to cut 16-oz. steaks with Bacon. “The
team. One group’s days are usually ending
said to Bacon and his staff. “Together, we
butcher and chef, they look at every steak
when the other’s are just getting started, but
are a part of food production, providing
as an individual much like we do cattle.”
they share more than they might first notice.
meals for people. What could be more
Back home, he’ll carry with him a better
Long hours, the unknown, generations of
noble than that?”
understanding and share it with those who
tradition and an appreciation for quality.
Passion is just the starting point.
A silence said they got it. Heads nodded
and chests rose. The 20-oz. Certified Angus
The similarities in their stories don’t end,
“People want to know where their food’s
coming from, ‘what’s the process,’ ‘what’s this
thing with [the Certified Angus Beef ® brand]?’”
Chef Jeremiah Bacon, Oak Steakhouse,
Charleston, S.C., explained after a full day
spent with Angus farmer Kevin Yon.
Beef ® brand dry-aged ribeye they were set
to push carried new meaning.
“We’ve put three years into the steer going
on the plate tonight,” Yon said. “Three
years ago, we made that decision.”
although it’s often not until they’re face to
face, interacting and asking questions of
one another, that things come into focus.
It’s in the details and the precision, the
passion and the pride, that make up the
In fact, that’s the goal of so much that happens
between, and for, brand partners representing
every link in the chain. Understanding product
quality is, of course, an important part of
the lessons. More important is fostering
relationships and understanding between the
people who, each in his or her own way, bring
it to the table.
Take, for example, the brand’s signature
educational course: the Master of Brand
Advantages (MBA) program, conceived as
the supply of high-quality Angus beef started
trending steadily upward to give next-level
training to the leaders who would hit the
streets to sell it. A three-week intensive course
for distribution-house sales staff, it’s serious
work and covers not only sales, meat cutting
and meat science, but also visits farmers,
feeders and packers to understand the entire
quality beef journey.
A course as intensive as this, requiring those
weeks away from one’s normal duties,
over a span of several months, isn’t always
feasible. Nor is it always appropriate for less
experienced, albeit potential-rich, members
of a sales team. That’s why a new one-week
Associate’s in Meat course at the brand’s
Culinary Center was introduced. Similar to
the MBA program, it gives guests a firsthand
look, in somewhat less detail, at the entire
scope of the brand’s journey to the table.
Eric Moody of Wolverine Packing Co., a
member of the first class, said the week
exceeded his expectations.
“We were learning from the moment we set
foot in the door until the moment we left. I
gained more in one week than one year of
on-the-job experience. I now know that I can
stand behind the Certified Angus Beef ® brand
with the utmost confidence,” he said.
Indeed, many on the sales side know their
customers have questions – about cattle care,
feeding, handling, nutrition and so much
more. Getting the answers firsthand equips
them to answer with conviction and pride,
as well as perspective on the community that
distinguishes the brand.
Every encounter is a chance to build
connections, learn from one another and
strengthen the network. Like the salespeople
who visit The Culinary Center, leading chefs
and culinary influencers come there to spend
time with fellow culinarians, as well as meat
scientists, farmers and packers. That kind of
fully immersive and collaborative experience
is not only unique to the brand, but also at
One need not set foot in The Culinary
Center, however, to enjoy something
similar. Prospective guests can get a
sneak peek at its Meat Lab, kitchens and
cuisine – and, perhaps more importantly,
the camaraderie and collaboration that
happens there – via a new interactive 360°
video. And, for those new to the brand,
the Certified Angus Beef ® brand University
e-learning platform offers a virtual
introduction to the community behind the
brand. In its first year, more than 4,000
have completed the participatory program.
Master of Brand Advantages students take a break during a session on cattle feeding.
Chef Josh Moore of Volare in Louisville, Ky., in the kitchen at The Culinary Center.
Meat Scientist Diana Clark leads a fabrication session for chefs assembled at The Culinary Center’s Meat Lab.
Tells a Story
“Turn right at the big red barn and then follow the dirt road north
for 2 miles.”
In many parts of rural America, the kinds of places where
most families raising Angus cattle live, directions like these are
common. Barns represent vitality in agricultural communities.
They’re landmarks. And as they anchor farms to the land, they
represent tradition: not just to farming and ranching families, but
to those who live and do business in more urban areas. Barns are
a symbol of this legacy, of Americana, of timeless values like hard
work and integrity. They represent the heritage and foundation of
the Certified Angus Beef ® brand.
Barn No. 23, Interstate Angus Ranch, Mandan, N.D.
3 12 24 40 18 23 10 20 18
34 24 17 3 12 36 35 15
13 14 25 28 10 19
25 8 28
Natalie Atterholt, Barn No. 40, Loudonville, Ohio
#1 Baldwin family
Baldwin Angus Ranch, Ocala, Fla. (1/17)
#15 Carrico family
Carrico Angus, Redfield, Iowa (6/7)
#27 Olson Family
The Barnyard at the Farm, Winnebago, Ill. (8/10)
#2 Nelson family
Five Star Land & Livestock, Wilton, Calif. (2/8)
#16 Blythe family
Blythe Family Farms, White City, Kan. (6/11)
#28 Boehmer and Bellingar families
Single Tree Farms, Charlotte, Mich. (8/15)
13 40 7
#3 Dal Porto family
Dal Porto Livestock, Oakley, Calif. (2/13)
#4 Yon family
Yon Family Farms, Ridge Spring, S.C. (3/14)
#17 Sankey family
Sankey’s 6N Ranch, Council Grove, Kan. (6/14)
#18 Haverkamp family
Nemaha Valley Cattle Co., Bern, Kan. (6/20)
#29 Sterzick family
Sterzick Farms, Lowell, Mich. (8/17)
#30 Sankey family
Sankey Angus, Economy, Ind. (8/20)
#5 McPeake family
CAM Ranches, Arnoldsville, Ga. (3/20)
#19 McCurry family
McCurry Brothers, Mt. Hope, Kan. (6/27)
#31 Hoffman family
Hoffman Angus Farm, Otwell, Ind. (8/23)
#6 McMahon family
Belle Point Ranch, Lavaca, Ark. (3/23)
#20 Jones family
Crooked Creek Angus, St. Francis, Kan. (6/29)
#32 Lienemann family
Lienemann Cattle Co./Lienetics, Princeton, Neb. (8/27)
#7 Pullen family
Pullen Angus, Bellevue, Texas (4/10)
#8 Olson family
Olson Land & Cattle, Hereford, Texas (4/14)
#21 Peterson family
Windmill Angus Ranch, Haigler, Neb. (7/2)
#22 Swanson family
Shipwheel Cattle Co., Chinook, Mont. (7/13)
#33 Widener family
Wincrest Angus, Johnson City, Tenn. (9/12)
#34 Maples family
Maples Stock Farm, Elkmont, Ala. (9/14)
#9 Knoll family
2 Bar Angus, Hereford, Texas (4/17)
#23 Boehm family
Interstate Angus Ranch, Mandan, N.D. (7/23)
#35 Cannon family
Stone Gate Farms, Flemingsburg, Ky. (9/19)
#10 Bradley family
Bradley 3 Ranch, Memphis, Texas (4/20)
#24 Hurlbut family
Hurlbut Cattle, Raymond, S.D. (7/26)
#36 Thomas family
Thomas Angus Ranch, Baker City, Ore. (9/22)
39 38 11 22
#11 Pfeiffer family
Pfeiffer Angus, Mulhall, Okla. (4/27)
#12 Ulrich family
Ulrich Farms, Allenwood, Pa. (5/4)
#25 Hadrick family
Hadrick Family Ranch, Faulkton, S.D. (7/28)
#26 Schiefelbein family
Schiefelbein Farms, Kimball, Minn. (8/8)
#37 McKean family
McKean Bros. Angus, Mercer, Pa. (10/3)
#38 Perry and Clark families
Deer Valley Farm, Fayetteville, Tenn. (10/6)
#13 Trowbridge family
Trowbridge Angus, Ghent, N.Y. (5/16)
#39 Ferguson family
Chippewa Valley Angus, Smithville, Ohio (10/12)
#14 Schroeder family
Schroeder Angus, Clarence, Iowa (6/5)
#40 Atterholt family
Atterholt Farms, Loudonville, Ohio (10/18)
Packed between these bookends are an infinite number of
stories: of families, communities, partnerships, relationships
and pride. Each logo’s landing spot includes its own unique
connection to the best Angus beef and has become a new
source of family lore and memories.
That’s precisely why the brand, for its milestone 40th
anniversary, embarked on a cross-country journey to paint
40 barns with its iconic logo. Painted barns, functioning as
billboards, were once a mainstay on America’s rural highways
and byways, but have become relics. What better blend of
nostalgia and innovation could there be for a brand deeply
rooted in tradition, agriculture and marketing, celebrating
both its history and impact on today’s industry?
For the brand that changed beef, unconventional isn’t
unusual. Launched in 1978 and a niche program for many of
its early years, the brand has grown to represent one-fifth of
the nation’s fed cattle supply and markets more than a billion
pounds of beef annually. It’s evolved into an Angus family
legacy and thriving entity that sustains and grows businesses
at every step from farm gate to dinner plate.
The search for barn locations began in late 2017. Farming
families could nominate themselves, or others, for selection.
Painting began in January 2018 in Ocala, Fla., where Baldwin
Angus Farm – home to a red barn located off Interstate 75
– became the first of the 40. The late family patriarch Leroy
Baldwin had served on the brand’s board, and as chairman
of the American Angus Association ® board. His legacy and
intertwined history with the brand was the ideal foundation
for a campaign honoring the past.
From there, the journey zig-zagged coast to coast, hosting
celebration events at barn paintings in 25 states before
wrapping up on October 18 – 40 years to the day after the first
pound of product was sold in Columbus, Ohio – at Atterholt
Farms, near the brand’s Wooster, Ohio, offices.
The barn paintings brought ranchers and
butchers, neighbors and media, and processors
and students together. Here, the brand’s Chef
Michael Ollier left his mark alongside Barn
Painter Troy Freeman.
In Mulhall, Okla., the logo found a home
at Pfeiffer Angus, where John Pfeiffer’s herd
reflects the influence of the brand’s required
10 science-based specifications.
“The brand has had a major impact on how
this cow herd looks today,” Pfeiffer says.
“To be a part of it, to continue to work with
the brand, restaurateurs and retailers – it’s
a dream come true.”
Near Council Grove, Kan., Chris and Sharee
Sankey shared a passion for the Angus
breed and brand that is second to none.
Their Angus roots run deep, and their family
history aligns with quality beef.
“We are honored to have been selected
for a barn painting, as 1978 was a special
year for us,” says Chris Sankey. The couple
graduated from Kansas State University,
married and started their Angus herd the
same year the brand began.
In fact, the barn paintings became an even
greater family affair for the Sankeys: in
addition to the Council Grove barn, their
adult children’s barns in Raymond, S.D.,
and Economy, Ind., were among the 40
barns painted, as well.
The distance between farm and table
dissolved at barn No. 23, near Mandan,
N.D. The Boehm family at Interstate Angus
Ranch cares for a herd of 100 registered
Angus cows while operating Roby’s Supper
Club, a local restaurant that proudly serves
Certified Angus Beef ® brand steaks.
Second-generation rancher and restaurant
owner Robert Boehm is brand loyal on both
fronts. In the early days at Roby’s, when
there were no local distributors from which
he could source product, he would drive
600 miles roundtrip to purchase the beef
brand to which he’s committed.
“If I couldn’t serve my customers Certified
Angus Beef ® brand steaks, I wouldn’t serve
them steaks at all,” he says.
Nearly a thousand miles away, in Lowell,
Mich., is Sterzick Farm, the home of Barn
No. 29, a 200-year-old beauty which evokes
the adage “if these walls could talk…”
Protected and cherished for generations, a
drop of paint had never touched its wood –
until the brand’s logo, that is.
That trust in the brand, and the power of
the barn paintings, has been truly humbling,
said President John Stika.
“This effort has meant so much to so many
people, and really strengthened how Certified
Angus Beef ® is perceived as a consumer
brand,” he said. “In an increasingly digital
marketplace, there’s something valuable, real
and special about bringing members of our
community together in one physical space.”
AND BUILDING FRIENDSHIPS
At each event, lines blurred between urban and rural. The gatherings
opened doors for a food blogger and rancher, a state Secretary of
Agriculture and a chef, to connect at the gate and around the
plate. At any barn, a packer, farmer, foodservice distributor and
retail brand partner might be seen sitting together, enjoying beef
at the place the brand gets its start. Beyond those directly involved
with the brand, school teachers and students, extension agents,
politicians and media assembled as well, enjoying the meal and
the spectacle that was so much more than “watching paint dry.”
At these tables, conversations began, friendships were kindled
and people learned more about where their food comes from.
The gatherings gave consumers the chance to ask questions, and
farmers the opportunity to share what they do, why they do it, and
what the brand is all about.
The diversity of guests and roles mirrored the dynamic community
that helped the brand grow and thrive for the past four decades.
They continue to drive that success and realize the mission of the
brand: creating demand for, and adding value to, Angus cattle.
The uninitiated may view the brand’s logo as another label.
Another piece of artwork that gets lost in the sea of marketing
messages consumers are bombarded with daily. But those who
understand it realize it’s a symbol that sparked thousands of
storylines on ranches across North America, in kitchens and on
dinner tables around the world.
While it’s the most visible reminder of the anniversary journey,
the painted logo is actually secondary. Its biggest value is in the
people, experiences and memories generated through the events,
which created new brand loyalists and made their passions for
better beef burn brighter.
“This campaign was and continues to be an opportunity to
capitalize on the rich history of the brand’s roots and an initiative
that will take us into the future,” says vice president of marketing
Tracey Erickson. “These barns will be around for years to come,
inspiring a new generation. We’re excited to see them enjoyed and
leveraged to help tell our brand story.”
Artist Troy Freeman from Springfield, Ill., used paint he says will
last 30 years, so few touchups will be necessary and the barns will
be seen for decades to come. Pull out a map … the barns that now
dot the landscape represent 40 parts of a greater whole.
“I don’t look at the Certified Angus Beef ® brand as an individual
unit, but rather ranchers, consumers, distributors – people – all
intertwined and working as one,” says Sharon Baldwin in Florida.
To learn more about the campaign and read the stories of each
barn and family, visit CertifiedAngusBeef.com/brandthebarn.
42 Artist Troy Freeman of Springfield, Ill.
On Oct. 18, 1978, the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, led by Angus farmers from
Ohio, as well as Illinois and Kentucky, became a reality with its first sale
of beef. Several of those leaders were present when Ella Whitt
purchased that first pound from a small grocery store in
Columbus, Ohio. Today, millions of consumers enjoy
and trust the world-famous brand for consistently
superior quality when dining out and at home.
To honor the men who created the brand and all
the partners from farm to table who guide its success
today, friends of the brand and staff marked the 40th
anniversary of the first sale with a proclamation from
Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The announcement coincided
with the painting of the 40th barn at Atterholt
Farms, often visited by partners as part of The
Culinary Center experience, near the brand’s
headquarters in Wooster, Ohio.
Ikinari Steak, known for its “stand and eat” culture, is a sensation
in Japan, opening 300 locations in just five years. Its concept:
cut steaks to the exact size the customer desires, and charge a
fair price by weight. Its foundation: top-quality, highly marbled
American beef – specifically, the Certified Angus Beef ® brand.
“A lot of people told me that what we wanted to do was crazy,”
says Kunio Ichinose, president of Pepper Food Service, which
owns the chain. “But even though no one had ever done it before,
customers really took to the idea, and we had lines out the door
thanks to word of mouth – even before the unique concept was
covered by the media.”
Customers can choose either Certified Angus Beef ® brand strip, which
they market as “sirloin,” or chuck eye steak, known at Ikinari Steak
as a “wild steak.” For the companies bringing the brand to the
table in Japan, the decision to feature it was simple.
Ikinari Steak, featuring premium Certified
Angus Beef ® brand steaks, has achieved
great success in Japan and has started an
expansion to the United States.
Korean guests traveled to the U.S. for first-hand exposure to the American beef community.
Taste of the Caribbean
Taste of the Caribbean, held each June in Miami, welcomes
the region’s leading chefs and restaurateurs for networking,
education and competition – including a beef battle sponsored
by the brand. Not only did it give participants the chance to
cook with the brand and experience its quality, but the winner,
Chef Tricia Gregoire from Trinidad and Tobago, also received
an all-expense-paid trip to an immersive chef’s experience at
The Culinary Center.
“I realized that there was a distinction
between commodity U.S. beef and the
Certified Angus Beef ® brand, and we wanted
to introduce our customers to the higher
quality it represents,” explains Masaya
Shiraishi, assistant general manager of
Marubeni Corp., the importer.
Beyond the consistently high quality of the
product, however, the Ikinari Steak decisionmakers
took several other factors into
account as they committed to the brand.
“After we saw the investment the brand
made in the Japanese market by reopening
its Tokyo office in 2015, we visited its
headquarters and Culinary Center, where
we learned a lot more about the brand,
its science-based specifications, and the
community behind it,” says Takahiro
Makimoto, corporate officer of distributor
S Foods Inc.
Ikinari Steak’s formula is a successful one,
both across Japan and in its New York City
locations (with more slated in the United
States). Ichinose notes that many customers
visit the chain multiple times per week.
Fueled by this and other successes in
the market, the brand recently unveiled
its new Japanese website, created in
conjunction with the global advertising and
marketing agency Dentsu. Rather than a
simple translation of the brand’s flagship
U.S. site, it was built from the ground
up with messaging, images and resources
created explicitly to address the specific
needs of Japanese foodservice distributors,
restaurateurs and consumers.
The brand’s commitment to quality –
demonstrated since its start 40 years ago
in its product, people and integrity – has
elevated it to the top of a competitive and
ever-changing global marketplace. It’s a
recipe for success that translates in any
language and among diverse communities of
consumers, both abroad and domestically.
Success in Asia was also characterized by
explosive sales growth – nearly 70 percent
this year – in South Korea, where U.S. beef
is prized, and interest in the Certified Angus
Beef ® brand is growing rapidly after key
decision-makers in the market have learned
more about its standards and heritage.
Nineteen Korean guests, including
foodservice distributors and their
restaurant customers, spent time last July
at the brand’s renowned Culinary Center
in Wooster, Ohio, as well as Five Rivers
Kuner Feedlot and JBS packing plant,
both in Colorado, as part of the brand’s
inaugural event geared to the market.
They learned everything from alternative
beef cuts and fabrication to the brand’s
specifications and history. Brand chefs
Tony Biggs and Peter Rosenberg presented
meals focused on Korean-style flavors and
cooking techniques, and attendees even
had the opportunity to eat breakfast with
an Angus rancher.
The experience made an impact, contributing
to that phenomenal growth. South Korea
ranks third among all international markets
for the brand, which also represents 13% of
all U.S. beef imports there.
HOME AND ABROAD
While educating customers and consumers
about the brand is important, its story must
be presented in relevant ways that resonate.
Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach,
marketing efforts must be customized to meet
their needs – and that requires deep insight
and understanding of diverse populations.
Ranging from H Mart, the largest Korean
retailer featuring the brand across the United
States; T&T Supermarket, an Asian-style retailer
under the Loblaw group in Canada; Cermak
markets catering to Latino customers in the
Chicago area, or any number of independent
carnecerías in Hispanic communities across
the South and Southwestern states, each
customer base has different needs.
A traditional American-style strip steak cut 1
½ inches thick might be an impressive novelty,
not a mainstay, for cultures and cuisines
that feature beef in different ways: thin-sliced
or shaved, enjoyed in a communal setting
like shabu-shabu or teppinyaki, or cooked
tableside vs. in a restaurant kitchen. Beyond
beef lovers who bring an ever-growing range
of cultural preferences and traditions to the
table, the rise of foodie culture has prompted
an even wider community of diners to explore
flavorful, authentic, global cuisines.
Certified Angus Beef ® brand chef ambassadors, restaurateurs,
U.S. Meat Export Federation members and Tyson-Taiwan
representatives gathered for the Shuh Sen Seminar in Taipei
City, Taiwan. Guests there learned more about the brand’s
specifications and beef fabrication sessions, then participated in
culinary ideation sessions with novel and classic cuts like a flank
burger, porterhouse, tomahawk and chuck eye log.
Increasingly, businesses within the United States’ borders cater
to customers from diverse backgrounds, and offer products
reflecting global preferences and traditions. One example is
Chicago-based Cermak Fresh Markets, which feature the thin
cuts its Hispanic customers prefer.
S Foods of Japan offered the winning bid for a one-of-a-kind
piece auctioned in support of the Colvin Scholarship Fund,
supporting young beef community leaders and named in honor
of the brand’s co-founder and first president Mick Colvin. (See
more, Page 59.)
An intimate dinner date, rich with romance. A laughter-filled,
sunny Sunday family dinner. Burgers and beer at a rooftop
cookout with friends. Enjoying perfectly aged steaks with the “old
boys’ club.” An anniversary celebration that brings loved ones
together around one table.
These are the occasions celebrated with family and friends that
will become treasured memories. They’re the moments, large and
small, that make life special. The Certified Angus Beef ® brand plays
a part in them all.
50 On the set of the “Rare Moments, Done Well” commercial shoot in Pennsylvania
Such are the stories captured in the brand’s
new television commercial, “Rare Moments,
Done Well,” which made its debut in select
markets in September. Produced by the
brand’s agency partner Hart Inc. of Toledo,
Ohio, it connects emotionally with viewers
as it illustrates the brand’s place in those
The combination is a powerful one, and
captures the essence of the brand’s place in
many loyal customers’ lives.
“Beef has a long reputation as the protein
people choose when they have something
to celebrate, and the brand’s premium
quality makes that especially true,” said
Tracey Erickson, the brand’s vice president
of marketing. “The brand’s loyal customers
and fans understand they can count on it
to deliver an exceptional meal, every time,
and they will seek it out – every day, and
particularly on special occasions.”
The spot reflects the diversity – among
moments, venues, cuts and preparation
methods – that has propelled the steady
growth in demand among consumers
for the brand. It also reflects the diverse
community of loyalists who appreciate the
brand’s heritage, demand its consistent
quality, and eagerly share their passion for
their protein of choice.
“Beef has a long reputation
as the protein people choose
when they have something to
celebrate, and the brand’s
premium quality makes that
Tracey Erickson, Vice President, Marketing
Certified Angus Beef LLC
FANS, LOYALISTS, STALWARTS
Meet a few members of the tribe who proudly share their stories,
and Certified Angus Beef ® brand moments, with the world:
Minnie Lou Ottinger Bradley
Bradley 3 Ranch, Memphis, Texas
Featured in Garden and Gun magazine, this trailblazing cattlewoman insists
she’s just following her dream. Nevertheless, the matriarch of Bradley 3
Ranch, Memphis, Texas, is carrying on a legacy that started in the late
1800s, and continues with her daughter and son-in-law.
Senior Editor, Certified Angus Beef LLC, Onaga, Kan.
A talented wordsmith recently inducted into the Livestock Publication
Council’s Hall of Fame, Suther not only served as the brand’s Director of
Industry Information for nearly two decades, where he shared stories and
information with cattlemen and agricultural media, but he also raises
cattle targeting the brand on his own Angus farm.
Greg and Christina Gaardbo
Chicago Culinary Kitchen, Palatine, Ill.
Whether it’s branding tomahawk steak bones with the brand name,
or inventing something called a “Scorpion Steak,” this meat-loving,
boundary-pushing duo with a rock-and-roll mentality bring unbridled
enthusiasm to the table for their choice in Angus beef.
BRAND BRAND UPDATE UPDATE
Meat Buyer, Meijer Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.
A brand champion on a team of brand champions, Neitzel wears
his support for the brand on his sleeve. His personal commitment
is not out of place among his teammates at Meijer, longtime
partners who work hard to build relationships with local farmers
and others in the brand family.
When Sydni Lienemann was a little girl, she and her older siblings
used to host their own bull sales. The events didn’t take place in
the family’s Princeton, Neb., barn, but in their living room. The
“bull” was actually their dog – appropriately named Angus. While
no real money changed hands, Lienemann recalls the “sales”
generated a lot of excitement.
“My oldest sister would always be the auctioneer, and my older
brother would be the ring man, and then I was the showman,”
she remembers. “We sold that Angus dog quite a few times. We
always had a lot of interest in him,” she says with a smile.
Dane Haverkamp, Nemaha Valley Cattle Co., Bern, Kan.
Memories like these – centered around
family, farming and livestock – are part and
parcel of growing up on a ranch. They’re
threads in the fabric of this way of life, and
reflect the values and sense of community
that spans generations and miles that unite
the Angus community.
“You can’t beat the bonds you make on the
farm,” says Elizabeth Forker. “I was raised
on a sixth-generation family farm in eastern
Nebraska, and that legacy is something
that’s really important to me.”
Even while working toward her veterinary
degree, Forker, the daughter of two cattlefeeding
vets, plans to have a dual career
as a rancher. “Ideally, I’ll be raising cattle
75% of the time, and practicing 25%. I just
hope that the kids my husband and I raise
someday will be as interested and invested
in raising cattle as we are.
“Being raised in agriculture, I really wouldn’t
want to have it any other way,” Forker
continues. “From an early age, those values of
hard work and determination were instilled in
me, and I carry those with me today. I value
the closeness I have with my family because
we work with each other day in and day out
to raise the best cattle we can.”
Farming today, they note, is not without
“I think a lot of people don’t understand
how much we care about our livestock,”
Forker says. “I really want to be a liaison
between consumers and the producers who
are back at the ranch. I want them to
remember that we do everything in our
power to make sure our animals are cared
for as best they can be.”
Open, proactive communication, and
finding opportunities for consumers
– most of whom are far removed from
agriculture – to talk to ranchers, are keys to
dispelling myths and ensuring the economic
sustainability of farms.
“It has always been a blessing to be affiliated
with the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, and to
represent the farming community to people
who don’t necessarily see the production
side of things on a day-to-day basis,” says
Lienemann. “It’s incredible to be a part of
that kind of advocacy.”
With margins that are often thin, cattlemen
and women rely on measures that help set
them up for success. The higher premiums
generated by cattle that qualify for the
brand – true to the mission established
when the brand was first conceived – help
families and, in turn, rural communities.
Working farms not only generate income,
but also have a positive ripple effect on
“Rising land and equipment prices make
it very difficult for young people like me to
get into the business,” notes Forker. “It’s
hard for these farms to be passed along
to the next generation, and there’s a lot of
financial planning that comes along with
that. It speaks to the importance of raising
quality cattle and having a quality product.
Every time you sell a quality animal, you’re
obviously making more per head.”
“Demand for highquality
is going to be
continue putting that
Sydni Lienemann, Princeton, Neb.
Joslyn, Jentry and Jackson Willis, Willis Ranch, Cokeville, Wyo.
Claire Atterholt, Loudonville, Ohio
“We really need to continue putting an
emphasis on quality in our practices, and
looking for the most effective, efficient and
sustainable ways to raise those animals,”
Lienemann says. “We have a growing global
population that is currently 7.2 billion,
and expected to be 9 billion in the next
30 years. That presents a huge challenge
in feeding that growing world. Demand
for high-quality protein is going to need
to be something we continue putting that
Forker says farmers and ranchers must keep
looking ahead to position themselves for
continued success and relevance.
“Fifteen years from now, how can we be
planning for where the market’s going to
go, and what consumers are going to want?
We need to be planning for those genetics
in our herds now,” she explains.
The farmers rely on their counterparts
across the chain – in processing, sales and
marketing – to stay focused on the future
alongside them. For these businesses,
supporting the next generation of farmers
is an extension of their commitment
to their communities, and the beef
community in particular.
One example is Meijer, based in Michigan
with stores in six states. For years, local
store directors have supported their
county fairs’ livestock auctions, while
the corporate leadership is active at the
Ohio and Wisconsin state fairs, and the
Michigan Livestock Expo.
“We get there early, and we talk to the kids,”
says Dave Neitzel, Meijer’s meat buyer.
“Then we make sure we’re supporting them
at the auction.”
“We make sure we’re there at the beginning,
and we’ve developed a reputation that we
want to buy the last animal – because it’s
not just about the grand champions. It’s
about every animal that makes it to the
sale,” he explains.
“These are the kids that we’re going to need
in the industry 10 or 15 years from now,” says
Neitzel. “If you go out on the street right now
and ask somebody what they want to do,
most of them aren’t going to say they want
to be a butcher or they want to be a farmer.
So it’s important that we make sure these kids
know that we appreciate what they’re doing.
They are the future of our business. Without
them, we don’t eat. Without them, a lot of the
world doesn’t eat.”
“It’s probably the best couple days of my
year. I love what I do, but giving back is
probably the best part,” he says.
Forker reflects that perspective, grateful
for those who appreciate farming families’
commitment and passion.
“I’ve had the chance to experience a lot
of things through college. I’ve traveled
across the country and had some amazing
experiences,” she notes. “But every time
I leave the farm, I’m always so excited to
come home. I can’t wait to get back to
my livestock. That’s something you can’t
teach anyone – you just have to be born
with it. I’m so thankful and excited that I
Cow Boss Ted Brackenbury, left, guides Carson King as he learns the ropes at La Cense Ranch
58 in Dillon, Mont., which raises Certified Angus Beef ® brand Natural.
Leaders from Meijer show their support for tomorrow’s beef
community leaders at local fairs’ livestock auctions.
FUNDS SUPPORT YOUNG LEADERS
Since 1999, 76 young beef community leaders
have benefited from the Colvin Scholarship
Fund, named for the Certified Angus Beef ®
brand’s first president, Mick Colvin, and
supported by brand partners through an
annual golf tournament and auction.
By helping fund their education, donors
directly support the next generation at the
farm. It’s an endeavor that inspires brand
partners like Oxford Trading Co., which
became the brand’s first distributor in 1979
– selling this new branded beef to restaurants
and grocery stores at a time when no such
thing had existed.
Charlie Robinson had led the company the
entire time, becoming one of the brand’s
most stalwart champions. So when he made
the decision to hang up his butcher’s apron in
retirement in 2018, he wanted to say goodbye
in the most fitting way possible.
With his cohort and current Oxford Vice
President Ron Rurak, Robinson commissioned
two hand-crafted meat cleavers – one as an
auction item for the Colvin Scholarship Fund,
and one to be on permanent display at the
Certified Angus Beef ® brand headquarters in
“We consider them pieces of industrialized
art,” says Rurak. “The inspiration came
from an old carcass splitter I have that
dates back to the 18th century. It took a
tough person to handle one of those. These
are probably the only ones of this size and
quality in the country.”
Zack Jonas, a master blacksmith whose
work has been displayed in the Philadelphia
Museum of Fine Art, forged the blade.
John K. Pease, a master engraver for Smith
& Wesson and Colt Firearms, added the
engraving. Even the case has a story. Built by
designer Kurt Piper, whose work has been
on display in art galleries between New York
and Boston, it’s made from the same white
oak zebra pattern as the cleaver handle.
Purchased by S Foods Inc. of Japan, the oneof-a-kind
piece not only funded grants for
future leaders, but added links to the chain
that binds the brand community together
across roles, continents and generations.
“There aren’t enough words to accurately
convey the gratitude we feel toward Charlie,
Ron and Oxford Trading,” says John Stika,
President of the Certified Angus Beef ® brand.
“Not just for these beautiful works of art,
but for the partnership that has spanned
the breadth of our existence. When we
look at where the brand is today, we owe a
lot of that to people like Charlie and Ron,
who were willing to take a leap of faith on
something that had never been done.”
Grateful, too, are those who are selected for
the grants, like Forker.
“The scholarship is such a blessing,” she
says. “That support ensures young people
like me have the opportunity to continue
The support goes even deeper, she
recognizes. Without partners’ efforts
to market and sell the Certified Angus
Beef ® brand, and driving demand for
premium Angus beef, it could not fulfill
its central mission of helping sustain
Angus farming families.
Trevor and Ty Walter, Walter Angus, Hudson, Colo.
Colvin Scholarship recipients Liz Forker and Michael Cropp with Virginia and Mick
Colvin, the brand’s co-founder and first president for whom the fund is named.
Upon reading a text message asking if he used any Certified Angus
Beef ® brand Choice cuts on his menu, Chef Shawn Heine simply
replied with six words:
“What’s the name of my restaurant?”
Heine is the executive chef and partner at Prime Cincinnati, the
behemoth restaurant that draws visitors from all over the Ohio
River Valley in search of classic, large, dry-aged steaks in the heart
of the Queen City.
Since its beginning, Heine and his partners have staked their
reputation on Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime steaks, which they
then dry age in house to deliver guests an experience truly unique
to the city.
Thanks to never-before-seen availability
of the brand’s Prime-grade cuts, an evergrowing
list of chefs like Heine are stepping
up the quality on their menus. They’re
adding the brand’s highest premium
offering with renewed faith that supplies are
strong and will remain so.
Just about everywhere you look, chefs who
have a long history with the brand – as
well as plenty of newcomers – have taken
advantage of historically narrow price
spreads to offer Certified Angus Beef ® brand
Prime over the brand’s traditional Choice
cuts, and commodity USDA Prime beef.
In fact, sales of Certified Angus Beef ®
brand Prime increased by more than 30%
in 2018 – made possible because of the
unprecedented increase in supply of the
highest quality cattle. It’s a result of farmers
and ranchers making intentional decisions
at the ranch in response to market signals
driving higher quality across the entire herd.
Greater supply paired with more manageable
prices have enabled more restaurants to
embrace the brand’s Prime line more fully.
Longtime Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime
users, like Charleston’s Oak Steakhouse, have
maintained their premium offering on their
menus, even while expanding the concept
to sister restaurants in Nashville, Charlotte,
Atlanta, and, coming soon, Raleigh.
Others, like RED, the Steakhouse, which
once only featured branded Prime cuts at its
South Beach (Miami, Fla.) location, is now
able to offer it in markets like Cleveland.
Still others, like Chef Glenn Wheeler’s
downtown Omaha staple Spencer’s for
Steaks & Chops, which previously hung its
hat on commodity Prime, has upgraded to
the brand’s Prime line.
Even non-steakhouses, like Watershed
Kitchen in Columbus, Ohio, are now
insisting their beef offerings must be Certified
Angus Beef ® brand Prime.
Meat companies across the country
are among the brand partners building
opportunities on the increased availability
of the most highly marbled product.
Companies like Purely Meats in Chicago,
which supplies both Prime Cincinnati and
Oak Steakhouses, has introduced Certified
Angus Beef ® brand Prime into many of the
Windy City’s prominent steakhouses, as
well as renowned restaurants outside of
Beyond the tried-and-true classic steakhouse
concepts, Sysco Los Angeles has utilized the
brand’s Prime product to open doors into
the city’s exploding Korean BBQ scene,
while Newport Meats, also in Los Angeles,
has introduced it at Mitsuwa, a Japanese
supermarket with locations in Los Angeles,
San Diego, San Jose and Honolulu.
Indeed, restaurants are no longer the
sole provenance of this exclusive beef
experience. Foodservice businesses have
been increasingly joined by retail partners,
like Reasor’s, Roche Bros., DeMoulas
Market Basket and ShopRite, who have all
introduced the brand’s Prime cuts – some
dry aged using in-store coolers – as an
“We wanted to bring on a signature item
for ourselves, and we thought, ‘What
better program could we go with than
Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime?’” says
Frank Vitale, meat director of Roche Bros.
The retailer has featured the brand’s Prime
ground beef with much success for the past
three years, and this year added a Prime
sirloin strip, its signature steak cut, among
its brand offerings.
“It’s very easy for our team to get behind a
product like this,” he notes. “And when they
buy into it, it’s guaranteed to be a success.”
It’s all further evidence that when supplies
are there, those who count on the brand to
help fuel their businesses will claim the very
best of what’s available.
A CHEF’S PERSPECTIVE
For the ranchers who meet its target, “Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime speaks
Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime pays. to the guests. People say, ‘This is the best
That’s also true for the chefs who serve it. steak I’ve ever eaten.’ And I say to myself
sometimes, ‘Well, of course it is, we went
“We do food at a certain level, and I and procured the best steak you can
want steaks at a certain level,” says Peter find, treated it the proper way, seasoned
Vauthy, executive chef and partner with it without a lot of overpowering flavors,
RED, The Steakhouse - Miami and RED and brought it to your table.’ They get
Restaurant Group. “With USDA Prime, the closest thing to me creating that steak
you can drive a semi-truck through their myself. From the rancher to the packer, to
specifications, but with Certified Angus when it gets to my door, everyone believes
Beef ® brand Prime, you have a very small in the same message I believe in.”
window to go through. If it doesn’t make
the cut, it doesn’t make the cut.
RED, the Steakhouse, has a loyal clientele
that returns again and again – who know
“Some chefs have to worry about the when they come, they’re going to get
steak end of the business – how many something special.
come back to the kitchen because they’re
not of the highest quality? Are they “The quality and the care from the rancher
inconsistent? We’ve eliminated those to me, to the cook who prepares it: that’s
problems,” he adds.
where the value is each and every day.”
Roche Bros. is among the retailers expanding Certified Angus Beef ®
brand Prime and dry-aged selections available in store.
The Certified Angus Beef ® brand is the original Angus brand, founded
in 1978 by Angus cattlemen. Our mission has remained the same
since day one: To increase demand for registered Angus cattle
through a specification-based branded beef program to identify
consistent, high quality beef with superior taste.
• Build upon trust in the brand and protect its equity
• Grow brand awareness and brand loyalty
• Provide unparalleled brand services and resources
• Pursue innovations and enhance the “brand experience”
• Drive growth in brand production and sales
The Certified Angus Beef ® brand name and marks are service/trademarks
of Certified Angus Beef LLC. © 2018, Volume 22 Issue 1, published
annually. All rights reserved. 12/18-17186-3000