Tag Archives: American Angus Association

A New Role for Crystal Cattle

We’ve all seen Crystal Young’s (now Crystal Blin) great communications work with the American Angus Association, but now that she has settled into her new life on an Iowa cattle operation with her husband, we wanted to check in to see how life has changed for her….
How did your position with American Angus Association change how you view America’s cattle producers?
The membership of the American Angus Association is extremely diverse. From those that have 1,000+ head ranches to those farmers that raise 10 cows on the side. I loved learning about their stories and helping them reach their goals.
After completing your time with AAA, you are now on an Iowa cattle farm with your husband. Tell us what that’s like.  
I love being able to work in both a corporate setting, and still have time on the farm. JJB Cattle Co. has a small (but rapidly growing) herd of 25 purebred Hereford cattle. We use both embryo transfer and A.I. We market the majority of our cattle privately and offer a select group of show heifers for sale each year. We also have a growing freezer beef business that we are very excited about. It allows us to speak directly to the consumer. Jon and I farm approximately 60 acres of land that was put into corn this year. However, the droughty greatly affected us, and most of the acreage was turned into silage.
Has anything happened so far that you weren’t expecting by working for JJB Cattle Co.?
Being a young married couple that is trying to make a go at farmer there are always lots of things that come up. I have a lot of experience in the cattle business, but crops are new to me. When I saw the check for corn seed I almost fell over, however there is a big return.
What is it like to be able to work with your husband and raise cattle? It is the best possible lifestyle there is. I love to travel for work, but there is really nothing better than being in the pasture looking at your cows. It is also fun to work along someone that challenges you and understands your passion.
How has the transition been from work life to farm life?
Since, my life contains a bit of both there are many days that I end up at the farm in my heels and dress clothes. However, I love that there are two sides to my life. I love that I have hands on experience on the farm, and using our products. It makes relating to my Sure Champ customers a lot easier.
Do you have any advice for young people getting into the cattle business or who might already be involved? I think you have to find you niche. Jon and I realized early one that there are not a lot of cattle in eastern Iowa so selling bulls would be difficult. Therefore, we decided to only keep one or two bulls a year and focus on our freezer beef program, which is rapidly taking off. Also, use the resources that you have available to you. Jon and I both love social media and have networked with many of our customers through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and our blog –
Do you have any advice for young people who would like to get involved in agriculture communications?
There is only so much you can learn in the classroom about agriculture communications. Internships are critical. Find opportunities that you can network with industry professional. There are several college students that I work with because they reached out and asked for help. I love watching them succeed and take on new opportunities.
Have you learned anything new about cattle since beginning life in Iowa?
Maybe not about cattle, but a lot about corn. And so maybe more about how the two industries work together. While I was in college in Kansas I learned how lots of people grazed stocks. However, that doesn’t happen out in eastern Iowa. 1. there are no fences for cattle, and 2. many famers are worried about compaction. It is interesting to learn about the diversity in ideas across the county.

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We Are All Angus


Whether or not you raise Angus cattle, the media features that the American Angus Association produces are well-worth a watch and well-representative of the entire beef industry. We are always so impressed with the I Am Angus video features because they give viewers a glance at all aspects of beef cattle production, environmental issues and feature the great people that make up the cattle world. Today, we would like to share with you a few recent I Am Angus features….be sure share them with all of your friends and family.

I Am Angus: Dr. Jude Capper, Washington State University

I Am Angus: Christian Hagen, Wildlife Biologist

I Am Angus: Dan Dagget, Author and EnvironmentalistI Am Angus: Frank Mitloehner and the Benefits of Modern Livestock Production


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@YPCBeef Tweet-up in Nashville for #CIC12

by Jesse Bussard

The countdown to the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show has begun and before you know it, many of us will be in Nashville.  I like to refer to it as the biggest party in the cattle industry.  Cattlemen and women from across the country gather together to learn about the latest issues in the beef industry, discuss upcoming policy issues, check out new products, and make many worthwhile connections.

To facilitate making connections NCBA’s Young Producers Council, the American Angus Association, and the International Brangus Breeders Association are teaming up to host two #CIC12 Tweet-Ups.  Come join us on either 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at the Angus booth, 1062, during the NCBA Trade Show Welcome Reception or Friday, Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. at the GoBrangus booth, 1637.  

For folks tweeting from the event or who may be following along online, the official hashtag for the event will be #CIC12.  And for those who aren’t currently a member of the Twitterverse but would like to be, NCBA’s Young Producers Council will have copies of our social media guides on hand.

If you interested in seeing who all will be attending the convention you can find a list of cattle tweeps will be at #CIC12, check out this great list that Ryan Goodman (@AR_ranchhand) compiled.

If you have questions about the tweet-ups or about getting more active with social media please contact Jesse Bussard (@cowgirljesse) or Lauren Chase (@LaurenMSea) directly on Twitter or Facebook, or by leaving a comment below.  Details can also be found on the Certified Angus Beef’s Black Ink blog and IBBA’s Beef Tips blog.

Thanks again and we hope to see you in Nashville!


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Angus Moosday

It’s everyone’s favorite day of the week: Moosday! This week, we feature the Angus breed. The American Angus Association has done a fantastic job with marketing the Angus name. You can see their latest updates on their Facebook page, Twitter account, television programs, websites, blogs, and much more. Happy Moosday!

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Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Moosday


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YPC’s Holly Foster on I Am Angus


We have a special Moosday treat!

Young Producers Council vice chair, Holly Foster, is featured in this phenomenal “I Am Angus” video by the American Angus Association. In it, Holly shares stories of her family’s history on their California ranch, why they love raising cattle, and how they work to preserve the land they love.

Be sure to check out other I Am Angus videos on AAA’s Youtube channel.



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2011 Certified Angus Beef Conference – A Record Year

by Chris Labbe

It was an exciting and inspiring event and it was certainly a proud moment for all the producers, fabricators, and distributors. The main emphasis of the event wasn’t that Certified Angus Beef (CAB) has had a record setting June with 70 million pounds sold, or that it was a record in the company’s 33 year history, but it was the potential that it is leading to the sixth straight year of increased sales. Is this surprising in an economy we are in? Maybe, but it is a true validation of the brand’s integrity and “staying power” that we see in modern marketing today.

John Stika, president of CAB,  gave a recap of the year –to-date successes and I want to share them with you so you get an idea of the year CAB is having;

  • CAB is expecting a record year at over 800 million pounds and the fifth consecutive year of sales gains.
  • There were 9 of 12 record months this year with June, July and August setting the record highs at over 70 million pounds each.
  • Increases in all product categories: middle meats, end meats, ground beef, value-added products.
  • Stika pointed to a recent demand index study at Kansas State University that confirms the importance of premium beef in the marketplace. According to the study, demand for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand grew at a rate of 56% from 2002 to 2010 compared to 20% for USDA Choice.
  • Demand study shows premium beef advantage:

CAB is in a continual evolution of brand development and product development. But the overwhelming feeling anyone who attends a CAB conference will tell you is that the Brand is King! Ask anyone outside the beef industry if they have heard of Certified Angus Beef and you will more than likely get a resounding YES. Get past the brand and dive into the reasons for success and you will find that it is not that it is brand placement or savvy marketing, which they also have, but it is the science behind the meat and the education of all the value chain participants. It is also product availability and innovative services.

This year was the inaugural class of Master of Brand Advantages (MBA) which aims to educate chef’s restaurateurs, and waitstaff. During the conference, the brand recognized 19 individuals for completing the inaugural Master of Brand Advantages (MBA) class. Three weeks of hands-on and in-the-field training sessions took foodservice professionals to the ranch, feedlot and packing plant to gain beef quality knowledge.  Meat cutting sessions and sales training workshops completed their training.

The class and most of the training will take place in the Certified Angus Beef ® Education and Culinary Center, a state of the art culinary kitchen and meat science lab. This is where classes can start with a fresh carcass, break it down and understand not only the beef carcass but also what makes CAB stand out from all the rest of the branded beef programs.

Most of us in agriculture take education for granted, but what groups like CAB are doing to educate consumers (being chefs and restaurant owners) in a manner such as this is a tremendous asset to us in agriculture because it furthers our goal of educating consumers and helping us create better products.

If you were to go to the CAB conference you would find a broad spectrum of the food supply chain. An event like this with a broad spectrum of people in the food industry provides for a fun, dynamic and interesting time. Literally farm to fork, all those involved were in attendance;

  • American Angus Association board of directors,
  • Angus commercial and purebred ranchers, stockers, and feeders.
  • The packing and fabrication industry
  • Specialty meat companies
  • Retail and wholesale broadline distributors and specialty meat distributors.
  • Restaurant Owners, Executive Chefs, Celebrity Chefs and Sous Chefs.

With a group like this you get some real frank discussion and an understanding of how and where you fit into the Certified Angus Beef story. The event also included informative speakers, (Randy Blach from CattleFax was on hand, and Jude Capper from WSU, neither of which you can go wrong with!) awards and discussion panels from several of the attendees on how their own operations work with customers and the CAB brand.

Chris Labbe is Vice President of Kerr Pacific Corp., a 5th generation family business in the grain and foodservice business. Kerr Pacific Corp. operates HFM FoodService, a wholesale broadline foodservice company across the state of Hawaii, Saipan, and Guam. HFM Foodservice is the sole Certified Angus Beef distributor to the islands. Kerr Pacific also has a joint venture with Milner Milling and operates PFM, LLC with flour mills in Pendleton, Oregon, Blackfoot, Idaho, and Honolulu, HI. As well, his family has a diversified wheat, alfalfa, and commercial Angus cattle operation in Arlington, Oregon. Prior to joining the family business he received his MBA from Willamette University, and prior to that worked for a commodity brokerage firm and then the Montana Stockgrowers and Montana Grain Growers Associations. Chris and his wife Tiffanie are also starting their own operation and have a small broodmare band, and are leasing and buying land to begin their own Angus cow herd. Chris & Tiffanie have worked on ranches throughout the west from Arizona to Montana. They are both graduates of the College of Agriculture at Montana State University with degrees in Animal Science and Agribusiness. They have a small place in White Sulphur Springs, Montana and hope to return to the state in the future. They have two sons, Sam, who is 2, and Dillon, who is 8 weeks old.



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