“Our Mission is to provide programs, services, technology, and leadership to enhance the genetics of the Angus Breed, broaden its influence with the beef industry, and expand the market for superior tasting, high quality Angus Beef World Wide.” This is the current mission the American Angus Association strives to work towards. We believe in bettering our association, so we can get the most out of our industry. I find that our industry benefits us in 3 major ways.
So lets look at this a little closer.
First, By Bettering our cattle
In 1873, a man was making a journey across the Atlantic to transport four black hided bulls to America. When the bulls got to their destination in Victoria, Kansas, beef breeders were not accepting.
They found it odd that the bulls were black hided, especially considering that Shorthorn was the dominant breed at the time. The bulls were also considered odd because of their polled genetics. But even with all the critics, the man kept his head up, for he knew that these bulls were the start of something great that the United States beef breeders could not wrap their head around. He believed in better for our industry. Ten years later, a breed association was formed for the black hided cattle and an empire was started that is beyond well known in the United States.
Who is the man who started it all you might ask? His name was George Grant, and the four bulls he brought, were the first Angus bulls in America.
It is amazing to see how far we have come since George Grant’s time. With programs such as DNA testing and Angus Herd Improvement Records, Angus breeders can find the weaknesses and strengths in their cattle’s pedigrees, and work to breed for better cattle. With publications like the Angus Journal, and TV specials like Angus TV, members can stay up-to-date on current issues in the industry as well.
This is all because someone stepped up and rose to the challenge, to build a breed and product, that no one thought was possible. They believed in better.
The second way the Angus industry benefits us is by Bettering our product.
In the 1970’s, if you went into a grocery store or a restaurant, the quality beef you were getting was hit or miss. In 1978, a group of beef producers were discussing the beef industry and the inconsistent product that was provided to consumers. To be frank, they were not proud of what they saw.
They collectively said, “We can do better. We can produce beef that’s extremely tender, juicier and always packed with flavor.” In that same year, while working with meat scientists from the Ohio State University, the Certified Angus Beef® brand came to life.
When consumers hear the word Angus, many immediately think of a hot juicy steak that tastes so good they don’t have the words to describe it. Others don’t understand why “CAB” is the go-to choice and why they should pay more for it. The founders of Certified Angus Beef believed in a better product. But a product is only as good as the consumer expectation it meets. As the current generation of Angus producers, we need to take our product to the next level, by not just reaching the audience that likes CAB, but reaching the audience that is not aware of or does not understand our product.
Finally, we need to use the skills we have learned in this association to better ourselves.
Many believe that we are in charge of bettering angus cattle, but in reality, we use the angus cattle to better ourselves. As juniors and adults, it’s important to take the hard-working, learned skills, that Angus cattle and agriculture have taught us and use those skills to pursue our goals. The Angus association uses this concept as an opportunity to develop youth. In 1951, the first junior membership was issued, and as the years went on, contests, scholarships, and shows were developed, to provide juniors with limitless opportunities.
For me, I find that I am an example of a junior with limitless opportunities. When I was 12 years old attending the National Junior Angus Show, my mom encouraged me to compete in the extemporaneous public speaking contest. Reluctantly, I said yes. I was so nervous and so scared of failing. Some may have said that I did fail, because my speech was only 30 seconds long. But to me, this wasn’t a failure. It just showed that I had room for improvement.
The following Junior Nationals, I competed in quiz bowl, essay contests, and prepared public speaking contests, to improve my knowledge of the Angus industry and to boost my confidence speaking in front of a crowd. Did I end up winning awards in these contests? Sometimes I did. But what is more important than the awards, have been the skills I developed from these experiences that have me standing here today.
We are given so many opportunities in this association. It’s almost impossible to wrap your head around, as well as challenging to take full advantage of these possibilities.
It is important to use these opportunities, for we are the next generation of Angus enthusiasts, and in charge of making the Angus industry better than what it already is.
As we look towards the future of the Angus industry, do we see perfection? Maybe or maybe not. Our cattle, our product, and ourselves, will never be entirely perfect. While it’s important to keep striving for perfection, the key is to be better than you were yesterday and have a plan to be better tomorrow than you are today. It is important to believe in better, but to accomplish this we need to do better.
From this I encourage you to look at your cattle, your product, and yourself, and find a way to make your tomorrow better than you are today. If each of us do this and continue to do so, the possibilities for our industry are endless. And the business breed will become a bigger empire than it already is. Thank you.