Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Christmas time is a coming! Oh, Christmas time is a coming. However, if you’ve been a rancher for the last few years then your song for December has probably been the Merle Haggard classic “If We Make It Through December”!! But, this year hopefully your Christmas is more of Jimmy Stewart’s greatest movie ever “It’s A Wonderful Life”!! We have seen some pretty bleak years and we still say our prayers for the ones the wolves pulled down. But for those of us that were able to hang on, we’ve seen some record numbers in prices. Those prices are forecasted to stick around for a few years. And, if you throw in the strong consumer demand for high quality Certified Hereford Beef, then the future looks pretty bright.
Certified Hereford Beef had a record breaking year. For starters, this year we experienced a 2% growth and sold over 50 million pounds of delicious Hereford beef. Craig Huffhines, American Hereford Association executive vice president says, “CHB continues to gain market share despite tight cattle supplies, record high beef prices, and somewhat stagnant beef promotion due to the wide price spreads between beef and competing proteins.”
CHB’s staff along with the program’s marketing partners have been putting in the miles showing the advantages of CHB product in marketing differentiation when compared to “Angus brands,” along with the fact that Certified Hereford Beef is a consistently tender, juicy and flavorful beef product. These advantages are fueling the brand’s advance in both food service and retail markets.
In 2014, food service showed tremendous growth opportunity for Certified Hereford Beef. Newly licensed distributorships include: Sysco, St Louis, MO; Ocean Beauty, Boise, Idaho; Santa Rosa Meat Company, Santa Rosa, CA; Sysco International (Florida, export to Caribbean, Central and South America); and Agri-Foods, Miami, FL (export consolidator).
So, how do we get the cattle for all these new markets? 2014 saw Certified Hereford Beef staff focusing on developing a feeding network and supply chain communication program. This effort has helped increase Greater Omaha Packing Co. LLC cattle volume by 15.4% identified and 18.2% certified. Greater Omaha is near slaughtering 2,000 head a week for the CHB program with the goal of reaching 2,300 per week on a regular basis.
All those cattle numbers required to supply the CHB program are continuing to create demand for Hereford and Hereford-English bald face cattle. A total of 362,624 cattle were identified through CHB-licensed packing facilities during 2014 as eligible from a live specification standpoint, while more than 267,967 carcasses were certified for the program resulting in a certification rate of 74% for 2014.
With all the success 2014 brought, things only look better for 2015. In fact, we are starting things off with a bang because Certified Hereford Beef is turning 20 years old in 2015. To celebrate, we are taking a look at who we are with a special series titled “Farm to Fork” that will be featured in the Hereford World starting in January. Then, each month up until the birthday celebration in October we will feature how Certified Hereford Beef makes its way from the farm, through the supply chain, and ends at the consumer’s plate. In 2015 we will also be looking to expand our great relationship with Sysco’s, increasing our supply chain, educating more consumers through awareness, and growing our exports. Yep, 2015 is going to be a great year!
If you are reading this, then you are a part of something great with Certified Hereford Beef and it is only going to get better! We wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!