The American Angus Association experienced another outstanding year, confirmed by the 2017 fiscal year-end report. From coast to coast, producers were affected by deadly wildfires, unprecedented flooding, tropical storms and more. Despite a year plagued by natural disasters, Angus producers were resilient, and the Association’s membership persevered.
Registrations for Angus cattle totaled 332,421 head in fiscal year 2017, which began from Oct. 1, 2016, and ended Sept. 30, 2017. That’s the 17th largest number of registrations in the Association’s 134-year history, despite a less than one percent decline in registrations compared to 2016.
“I’m honored to report that, across the Association’s entities, there were a number of outstanding achievements in 2017,” said Allen Moczygemba, American Angus Association CEO. “Perhaps the biggest highlight of the year was the revamped National Western Angus Bull Sale held in Denver last January.”
The year got off to a running start at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The 2017 Angus Bull Sale, an event on many producers’ calendars, drew the largest agricultural crowd to the National Stadium Arena since the 1950s. As the only sale managed by the American Angus Association, it brings together consignments from breeders across the country. The sale grossed an impressive $306,250 and averaged $6,805 on 45 lots of bulls and five embryo packages. The sale highlighted the breed’s passionate membership and dedicated staff.
The Association and its four entities experienced exceptional growth across nearly all business metrics, and total assets for the organization reached more than $64.8 million.
“I’m looking forward to another year of growth and success for the Association in 2018,” Moczygemba said. “We have a lot of exciting plans for the coming year that will continue the Association’s rich history of industry leadership.”
Commitment to research and genetics
It was a year of milestones for Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI), the Association’s arm focused on bettering the Angus breed through research. Thanks to a forward-thinking staff, the Association became the first major beef breed to adopt the single-step methodology for conducting its national cattle evaluation (NCE).
The single-step methodology introduced by AGI took years of research to complete and was created in collaboration with the University of Georgia and the Association. Single step delivers greater prediction accuracy, less bias and more timely incorporation of new data and genotypes. Prior to its release in July, the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) validated the process and confirmed the new method was superior compared to previous models.
The Association expanded its database of genotypes to include more than 380,000 Angus cattle in 2017. Genomic tests submitted during fiscal year 2017 grew by 14.8 percent, or 126,642 tests. The Association also collected more than 8.6 million weaning weights, 1.9 million ultrasound records, 116 carcass records and 21,000 individual feed intake records in 2017.
AngusSource and AngusSource Genetic allow producers to visually identify their cattle, which drives premiums come sale time. The programs saw continued success this year with an enrollment of more than 67,000. Summer 2017 video auction sales saw enrolled calves bring an average premium of $2.02 per cwt on more than 22,100 sold.
Promoting and growing the breed
Angus Productions Inc. (API), a for-profit entity of the American Angus Association, is home to Angus Media and the industry-leading magazine Angus Journal. The team added even more talent to their staff, welcoming Rick Cozzitorto as president and Sara Reardon as general manager. API picked up awards from nationally recognized organizations as contributors earned more than 30 awards from the Livestock Publication Council, American Agricultural Editors Association and the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow.
Print production still remains a staple at API. Targeted to the Association membership, the Angus Journal maintains a paid circulation of 13,000. The 98-year-old publication began a redesign process in July 2017 and will introduce its new look with the January 2018 issue at the NWSS in Denver. The Angus Beef Bulletin will follow and is scheduled to get a redesign later in 2018.
API has a growing online presence to accompany its print publications with 16 million digital sale book views, 3,000 e-blast subscribers and more than 30,000 downloads of the Angus Mobile App. In addition, the Angus Journal has accumulated more than 13,000 likes on its Facebook page, which is focused on sharing information with Angus producers.
Connecting with members
This year, the communications group moved from API back to the Association and welcomed five new team members to refocus Association-wide communications efforts. The team utilized social media to connect with members and has grown the Association’s digital presence. The Association ended the year with 110,000 likes on Facebook, 14,600 Twitter followers and 19,600 Instagram followers. Angus.org generated 28 million views, and the Association sent out 200 news releases to keep membership up to date with Association news.
Angus TV ended the year with more than 737,000 views. Next year will be filled with change for The Angus Report. 2017 marked its sixth year on RFD-TV, and the show is set for a redesign in early 2018. The 30-minute show is a leading source of industry news for cattlemen and women across the country.
Youth, education and research.
The Angus Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the American Angus Association, has a rich history of support for the future of Angus education, youth and research. This year, more than $1.1 million in contributions were raised from generous donors.
The Angus Foundation awarded more than $275,000 in scholarships for Angus youth in fiscal year 2017. Undergraduate and graduate students at the National Junior Angus Show received more than $213,000 in scholarships.
In addition, the nonprofit invested in key research conducted with industry partners. Since 2005, the Foundation has invested $1.35 million in research efforts ranging from eating experience to reproduction and growth performance. The research drives increased consumption and supports growth of the beef industry, benefiting both the end consumer and producer.
11 years of Certified Angus Beef record sales
Propelled by continuously growing consumer demand for high-quality beef and the intentional efforts of family farmers and ranchers to hit that target, Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) reported record sales of its signature Certified Angus Beef brand: 1.121 billion pounds marketed in fiscal year 2017.
That’s the 11th consecutive annual sales record, continuing a 13-year streak of year-over-year growth. Fiscal 2017 is the second year sales topped 1 billion pounds and marked an increase of 10.4 percent, or 106 million pounds, over last year.
“Our partners, from the farm to the plate, all fit together in the effort to fulfill demand for high-quality beef,” said brand president John Stika. “We are all singularly focused on the same quality end point. The growth in sales this year was fueled by the dramatic and positive shift that we continue to see in the supply of high-quality cattle – the best we’ve ever seen.”
Responding to ever-growing consumer demand for premium beef, family Angus ranchers have continued to grow the size and improve the quality of their herds through the best genetics and management practices. This collective improvement translated into 4.53 million cattle certified for the brand, an increase of 610,000 head or 15.6 percent, compared to fiscal year 2016. In addition, the rate of cattle eligible to earn the brand name by meeting all 10 of its quality specifications rose to a record 29.7 percent, up from just 16 percent a decade ago.
Balanced growth across divisions and product categories resulted in 12 monthly sales records, from the beginning to end of fiscal year 2017. That included seven out of the 10 best sales months in the brand’s 39-year history.
The celebration of another outstanding year will continue during the 2017 Angus Convention, Nov. 4-6, where thousands of cattlemen and women are expected to gather for the three-day event in Fort Worth, Texas. Visit www.angusconvention.com for more information.
Source: American Angus Assn news release