Natural Angus gets premium boost


MANHATTAN, Kan. – New incentives for farmers considering raising cattle for the Certified Angus Beef Natural market will begin Sept. 1.

That’s when BC Natural Foods, the licensed packer for Certified Angus Beef Natural, will raise the premium offered for natural cattle from $5 per hundredweight to $10.

According to Neal Odom, BC Natural Foods director of calf and feeder procurement, the premium is available for all “natural” cattle finished in Certified Angus Beef-licensed feedlots.

Managing risk. Cow-calf producers are the key to future supplies, but Odom said unpredictable prices can lead them away from retained ownership in the feedlot.

BC Natural Foods offers tools to help producers manage this risk.

“We can put a floor under the finished cattle grid that leaves the upside potential in the market, along with all the component premiums and discounts. It’s a high enough floor to allow retained ownership with very little risk,” Odom said.

Marketing. BC Natural Foods will help producers market their cattle, even if retained ownership is not in their plans.

“We are continually building a network of stocker operators and cattle feeders that are interested in partnering or purchasing any cattle that will fit into our natural program,” he said.

The Certified Angus Beef Natural licensee took these steps to stimulate greater supply, Odom said.

“The demand for natural beef products is growing so fast that it is difficult to satisfy everyone at current production levels.”

Natural. The all-natural production criteria are simple: no implants, no antibiotics (including fed antibiotics) and no fed animal byproducts.

“If a calf needs treated we definitely want producers to give it that attention,” Odom said.

“They just need to identify it so that we know it no longer qualifies – we can market it through other channels.”

A producer can fill out a “natural affidavit” for a group of cattle at any time, “but the further people plan ahead, the more successful they will be in our program,” Odom said.

“There are questions we need to ask to get accurate information to the buyer, stocker or feedlot.”

Premium, discount. Producers can gain profits on other grid requirements outside of the natural component, too.

Hide brand location, quality grade, carcass weight, rib eye area, back fat thickness, kidney-pelvic-heart fat percentage and Angus influence create additional premiums or discounts.

Net profits. While the latest premium increase only affects the natural grid area, Odom said it can make a big difference on net profits.

“With the five-cent increase, a 750-pound carcass can receive an additional $75 just for showing up at the dance,” he said.

Certified Angus Beef Natural brand products, which meet all Certified Angus Beef specifications in addition to the natural criteria, are produced at BC Natural Foods Coleman Natural Meats plant in Limon, Colo., and its B3R Country Meats plant in Childress, Texas.


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