Brand Update 2018: Year in Review


The Certified Angus Beef ® brand unites a community from gate to plate focused on quality, and is known worldwide as the best Angus beef available. View our 2018 Brand Update for an overview of the people, initiatives and relationships that fueled a 14th consecutive year of growth and the fulfillment of our mission since 1978: to create demand and add value for Angus cattle, and support the family farmers and ranchers who raise it.


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,

Matt Shoup

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,

Wooster, Ohio

Brent Eichar,* Secretary Treasurer, Certified Angus

Beef LLC, Wooster, Ohio

*New board member

Board Member through

November 2018:

David Dal Porto, Chairman, Oakley, Calif.

Published by:

American Angus Association ®

c/o Certified Angus Beef LLC

206 Riffel Road

Wooster, OH 44691-8588 USA

Phone: 330-345-2333

Fax: 330-345-0808

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

change beef.

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

Angus cattle.

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.

Cover Photo:

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

Oakley, Calif.

Chairman, 2017-18 Certified Angus Beef LLC Board of Directors






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.


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.


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

8.3 %

494 MILLION LBS. 5.3 %

405.5 MILLION LBS. 18.6 %







8.2 %

772 MILLION LBS. 6.5 %

265 MILLION LBS. 10.3 %

175 MILLION LBS. 8.1 %
























13.8 M

12.7 M


13.6 M

15.2 M

15.9 M

3.5 M

3.5 M

3.9 M

4.5 M

5.2 M

25.6 %

27.5 %

28.9 %

29.7 %

32.5 %

More than


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

ever before.

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

the Rotisserie

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

no waste.

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.”



Consumer Success

in the Kitchen 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, 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

with confidence.

“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,



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.



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

braised beef.

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

Chicago, respectively.

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.



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!”

Ben Hon




for Flavor

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.



In Another’s

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

likely duos?

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.

unparalleled perspective.

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.

will listen.

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

big picture.


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

its essence.

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.


very Barn

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






4 6



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)


30 30

#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.”



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

42 Artist Troy Freeman of Springfield, Ill.

Honoring Our

Ohio Heritage

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.




onnecting with

Global Consumers

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.




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.

Taiwan Seminar

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.

Global Marketing

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.

Auction Winner

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.)


elebrating Life’s

Rare Moments

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

treasured occasions.

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

especially true.”

Tracey Erickson, Vice President, Marketing

Certified Angus Beef LLC



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.

Steve Suther

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.



Dave Neitzel

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.



ext Generation

Looks Forward

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

its challenges.

“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

local economies.

“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

something we

continue putting that

emphasis on.”

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

emphasis on.”

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 chainin 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

have been.”


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.


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

Wooster, Ohio.

“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

their education.”

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

the city.

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

important differentiator.

“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.


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.

Our strategies:

• 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

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