Value-added opportunity opens up for Red Angus breeders | TSLN.com

Value-added opportunity opens up for Red Angus breeders

During the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) in Denver, Colo., Red Angus enthusiasts gathered for their annual BrainTrust meeting, hosted by the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA). It was during that meeting where many RAAA members were introduced to Tom Brink, the newly hired CEO for RAAA.

Tom Brink is the founder and owner of Top Dollar Angus, Inc., one of the firstgenetic certification providers for commercial feeder cattle, and the only one focused exclusively on Angus and Angus-influenced cattle with Top 25% growth and carcass traits.

Members attending the BrainTrust meeting at NWSS also learned that this value-added program will now be offered to cattlemen who raise Red Angus-based cattle. RAAA has acquired a major share in Top Dollar Angus, and the announcement was made by Kim Ford, RAAA president.

"We are pleased to be working together with Top Dollar Angus to offer this value-added program to our members," said Ford. "This program adds another logical tier to add value to Red Angus feeder calves and puts more money in the pockets of producers."

Brink will retain a small ownership interest and will serve on the RAAA board for Top Dollar Angus; however, the firm will operate as a separate, stand-alone entity. Currently, Top Dollar is seeking a limited number of other investors and will appoint new leadership to head the business.

"Even though Top Dollar is in a transition phase as I take on my duties as RAAA CEO, the program will still continue as always," said Brink. "2016 is off to a great start already; we've already run 600 cattle through the program in the first two weeks of the year, which is a record for that period of time.

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"Inquiries continue to be good, and premiums have been solid even with the crazy market fluctuations. We are extremely happy with the value we've been able to offer our customers, and I know this will add value to Red Angus breeders who deserve a premium for their high-quality calves."

Since Top Dollar Angus got its start in 2014, the firm has certified cattle in 11 states. Brink brings a large network of participating feedlots and cattle buyers to the table, who are willing to pay a premium for genetically-superior cattle that will perform well in the feedlot.

"The Red Angus breed believes strongly in value-added genetic programs and has a long history of innovative thinking as a breed association," said Ford. "Top Dollar Angus is a pioneer in bringing differentiated feeder calf marketing based on superior genetics to the U.S. beef business. We view this purchase as an investment that will bring greater rewards to cow-calf operations that consistently purchase high-genetic-merit bulls and match those genetics with good health management and nutrition programs. And if it's good for commercial cattlemen and women, it's positive for Red Angus."

Currently, RAAA maintains the Red Angus Feeder Calf Certification Program (FCCP), a USDA verified genetic, source and age program. FCCP's "Yellow Tag" is a recognized symbol of Red Angus genetics and helps feedlots identify those desired genetics at auctions.

"I think the Red Angus breed recognized the potential for being a part of a value-added calf program like Top Dollar Angus," said Brink. "With the Yellow Tag program, this has been a very strong option for cattlemen marketing their Red Angus calves, and it's added a lot of value for the Red Angus breed. I believe Top Dollar Angus will be complimentary to this program. Because not every animal will qualify in the top 25 percent of the breed, the producers who go through the process of getting qualified will have the opportunity to fit the rest of their calves into the Yellow Tag program."

For more information on the FCCP, check out www.redangus.org/marketing/fccp

In Brink's new role as RAAA CEO, Ford says he brings a lot of industry knowledge to the table that will benefit RAAA members and Red Angus breeders.

"When our CEO search began and Tom threw his name in the hat, we quickly realized that he was a good fit for our association," said Ford. "He brings industry knowledge, a large network of contacts, and a true appreciation for the Red Angus breed. He's very in tune with our mission to focus on the commercial cattlemen, and he has the knowledge and experience to move our goals forward and take the breed to the next level."

"Red Angus has been one of the fastest growing breeds in recent years," added Brink. "In my time in the cattle feeding business, it was very visible how fast the Red Angus breed was growing based on the number of pens with Red Angus-influenced steers in the pens. I'm excited to serve as CEO and help grow the breed in all segments of the cattle business."

For more information on Top Dollar Angus, check out http://www.topdollarangus.com. F

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