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  • Miranda Reiman, Angus Media

Lower Cattle Numbers, Higher Optimism

Brinkley, new American Angus Association treasurer, reflects on year as CAB Board Chair.

Angus breeders have long focused on what drives ultimate demand for their genetics: consumer demand.

Jim Brinkley, Milan, Mo., who served as the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) Board chair this past year, shares that’s more evident than ever in this year where fed cattle numbers declined 3%, but supply increased slightly. CAB sales totaled 1.227 billion pounds.

“CAB with what they’ve accomplished this year and the future sure looks bright for them,” Brinkley says. “Quality beef, it's not going to go out of style.”

From strong bull sales to advancements in the breed, Brinkley says there’s a lot of reasons for optimism across the industry.

Listen to the interview or read the full transcript below.



MIRANDA REIMAN

Whenever the Angus family gets together, you can guarantee there's going to be fun, education and some work done. We're wrapping up the 2023 Angus Convention here in Orlando, Florida. I'm Miranda Reiman with the Angus Journal team, and joining me is Jim Brinkley from Brinkley Angus Ranch at Milan, Missouri. Hey Jim.


JIM BRINKLEY:

Hey, how's it going?

MIRANDA REIMAN:

Very good. It's been a fun convention. How would you rate the atmosphere or the mood of Angus breeders over the past few days?


JIM BRINKLEY

Everyone was very upbeat, optimistic with the cattle market and bull sales have been phenomenal in the past few months and everybody's pretty optimistic.


MIRANDA REIMAN

I heard a lot of optimism also from that main stage presentation. We had all of the entity presidents up there give just kind of brief overviews on highlights and there was an awful lot of optimism there too.


JIM BRINKLEY

Sure, absolutely. And AGI has got lots of stuff going on and releasing the new longevity EPD and getting feedback from that. And as you well know, they've got numbers of other stuff, teat and udder scores coming — they've got their plate full. Yeah.


MIRANDA REIMAN

That World Angus Evaluation came and then I think it was two weeks later, functional longevity came or something. It was a very quick span of time.


JIM BRINKLEY

Right.


MIRANDA REIMAN

Now you have served most recently as chair of the CAB board just wrapped up that chairmanship, correct?


JIM BRINKLEY

Correct. The past year I've been chair of CAB and we've actually had the third best year in the history of CAB, which is pretty gratifying and just pretty excited.


MIRANDA REIMAN

And a pretty big thanks to Angus breeders and what they've been able to accomplish because I did see those acceptance rate numbers were high, some of the best ever and the highest amount of Angus influence that we've ever had.


JIM BRINKLEY

Right. With cattle numbers low, I mean lower than what they have been in the past, we were really concerned whether we would fulfill the need of CAB and the demand and it's been great. The acceptance rates has been up maybe 3, 5% and it's really been good.


MIRANDA REIMAN

And I think I heard John Stika say from this stage that really the amount that we were down would've been the equivalent of two business days. I mean, I just want to put that in perspective that we were very close to having a record.


JIM BRINKLEY

Right. I mean it's funny you bring that up. I mean it's how close we were to achieving a new record would've been a couple of business days.


MIRANDA REIMAN

Absolutely. And during this past year, CAB's had some exciting initiatives. Probably the biggest one or the one that I think has created a lot of buzz would be their Ranch to Table program. And if anybody wants to listen to more of that, we do have a Angus Conversation podcast that'll be coming up here later in the season. But maybe just give a brief, what is the Ranch to Table program?


JIM BRINKLEY

Well, it's designed for producers to be able to get their carcasses certified. Once they're enrolled in the program, they can actually sell Certified Angus Beef to their customers. And we hear this a lot that we don't do anything for the small people and this is one way we're, we're definitely giving back to the smaller locker type "ma nad pa's" and even maybe 10, 15 head. So it's a good program.


MIRANDA REIMAN

Definitely. I think I said this on the podcast we did the other day, that to be able to tell Angus breeders that they can use the brand that they own on their own cattle, and that's pretty exciting and it just has taken a while to work through some logistical things to make it happen so that we make sure that that quality is still Certified Angus Beef quality.


JIM BRINKLEY

Those cattle still have to be graded, they have to be inspected and all that has been troublesome for the small packer and they're finally working through some logistics on getting it to where it's going to be more friendly for the small guy.


MIRANDA REIMAN

Absolutely. Well, we've been here for a couple of days. Are there any major highlights or things that you heard in sessions that you attended that either surprised you or you think, "Gosh, I wish everybody could have heard this?"


JIM BRINKLEY

Well, just what our like AGI, what they're doing, what they've got coming. It's just incredible. CAB with what they've accomplished this year and the future sure, looks bright for them. Quality beef, it's not going to go out of style if you well know.


MIRANDA REIMAN

Well, when we stand up for the annual meeting and we start with the prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, I almost still get goosebumps that we're in this industry that's still a people industry and we are very innovative —that was a word that came up here — but still definitely founded on tradition. So appreciate you being part of that tradition. You've been elected treasurer for the upcoming year and we'll be serving on the executive or the leadership team here for the Board of Directors. So, thank you for that and we'll look forward to the year ahead.


JIM BRINKLEY

Appreciate that.


MIRANDA REIMAN

Be sure to visit angus journal.net to keep up on all things Angus. The January Angus Journal will be packed with convention coverage, so subscribe today.

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