- Miranda Reiman, senior associate editor
Connealy Says Capitalizing on Opportunities is a Must
“If we stand still, that competition is going to pass us, and that's definitely not what I'd like to have happen on my tenure.”
That’s from Jerry Connealy, newly elected president and chairman of the American Angus Association Board of Directors and Angus breeder from Whitman, Neb. The breed needs to continue to find ways to drive profit back to the commercial sector, he says, noting that’s an opportunity in the next 12 months.
“The cattle industry has some really good years ahead of it, I think in the near future,” Connealy says. “And I'm excited to be in the position where maybe I can help keep us moving in the right direction.”
To hear more from Connealy, listen in to the interview fresh from the 2021 Angus Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 5-8, or read the full interview below.
MIRANDA REIMAN, Angus Journal: Well, we're here at the Angus Convention and I'm visiting with Jerry Connealy, newly elected president of the American Angus Association board. Thanks for joining us, Jerry.
JERRY CONNEALY: You’re welcome. Glad to be here.
REIMAN: And we just want to talk a little bit about kind of what's the state of the Angus breed today?
CONNEALY: Oh gosh, Miranda. We're, we're rolling along pretty well. I think the Angus breed is at the top of the pyramid. The cattle industry has some really good years ahead of it, I think in the near future. And I'm excited to be in the position where maybe I can help keep us moving in the right direction.
REIMAN: As we think about some of those bigger beef industry trends, what are some things going on in the beef industry that, that maybe impact us as Angus breeders specifically?
CONNEALY: I think, you know, the big trends probably, especially in the real recent past, have been droughts that have made supply go down, which ultimately will hopefully make feeder calf prices go up and, you know, with 70% plus the Angus or the cow herd be an Angus that, that makes the price of Angus bulls and females and CAB be elevated also.
REIMAN: A number of years ago, I heard a speaker from, I think it was Five Rivers and he said something to the effect of, “as Angus goes, so goes the rest of the industry.” How much of that is a burden or an opportunity on us, that we're kind of leading the beef industry?
CONNEALY: I think it's an opportunity, Miranda. I think that we have to realize that we are the biggest beef breed in the world, and we have to embrace that. And I don't mean from an egotistical standpoint, but I mean, we do have to realize that we are leading the beef industry, and as we go, the industry's going to go. So decisions we make an Angus breed are going to impact the way the whole industry goes. And that's, that's a burden, but it's a tremendous opportunity.
REIMAN: Sure. And after your tenure on the Board now, you've had a number of years where you've gotten to see maybe some decisions that needed to be made and how that's impacted things. What are some things during your tenure that you're proud of what the Board has accomplished in the last number of years?
CONNEALY: There’s a number of things. I mean one thing that comes to mind immediately is the AngusLink program. I think that that if our commercial customers are not profitable, that we're not going to be profitable. And, and with Angus being a huge part of the beef industry, the beef industry is going to be in trouble. And so you know, AngusLink has allowed us to share our EPDs and the genetic values on down to commercial level, which allows feed yards to buy cattle that are higher marbling and that they can feed in a certain way. And that's, I think that's elevated the whole beef industry to a whole new level. So, you know, that's a place where I think that we've really made an impact.
REIMAN: I consider that one of those things that falls both into an opportunity and a challenge as we talk about maybe differentiating Angus feeder calves and things like that. What would you consider other opportunities and challenges?
CONNEALY: I think another challenge would definitely be being what we've just talked about in that we are big — we are the gorilla in the room — is to make sure that we did not become complacent, that we keep pushing, that we keep trying to get better, no matter how good we are, there's always room for improvement. And so, you know, I think those are, that's the thing. I think that as we move on down the road, EID is something that's out there and that we need to figure into the Association. We need to figure it in all the way across the industry. And I think we need to take the lead on that. We need to make some decisions and maybe have people follow us a little bit rather than react.
REIMAN: Excellent. We've been having a good couple of days here at Convention, got to meet a lot of people and those kind of things. Is there anything that you've heard either in the hallways or on the main stage that you think maybe a wider audience should take away?
CONNEALY: Yeah, I think there are some things, I mean, I think because as the industry is moving forward and and obviously a big part of the Angus breed and AAA, one of our entities CAB. You know, CAB is a huge driver for not only the Angus breed, but it's a big driver for the whole beef industry. The more product that we can produce the price discrepancy seems to get bigger between Choice and CAB as more product comes in and that defies any supply demand curves that economists could share with us. So you know, I think that we need to just keep pushing, we need to keep making more product, and I think that'll filter on down not only to the seedstock producers but the commercial level, and the whole industry will thrive.
REIMAN: Absolutely. It's a pretty exciting position to be in when we have the, the brand that's kind of the envy of the beef industry, for sure. Is there anything else that I haven't asked about that you want to add?
CONNEALY: Gosh, Miranda, I don't know if I can come up with anything that needs to be said. I do think that that once again, back to complacency and back to progressiveness, I think it's so important that we keep thinking forward that, we keep coming up with new ideas that we don't be satisfied. I think if we stand still, that competition is going to pass us and that's, that's definitely not what I'd like to have happen on my tenure.
REIMAN: Excellent. Well, we look forward to a year of leadership from you and the gentlemen that were just elected to the board.
CONNEALY: Thank you very much.