Future of Beef Industry Involves Technology

Panel highlights opportunities with available and upcoming technology.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 5, 2014) — Now is a great time to be in the cattle industry. Markets are high and demand is up. Technology has already played a large role in beef industry success, and it will continue to do so agreed a panel of industry leaders addressing the role of technology at Angus University Nov. 5, during the Angus Means Business National Convention & Trade Show in Kansas City, Mo.

The panel consisting of John Butler, CEO of Beef Marketing Group; Dan Moser, president of Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI); Ron Rowan, director of customer development and grain procurement for Beef Northwest; and Rick Sibbel, director of U.S. Cattle Technical Service at Merck Animal Health, was moderated by Larry Corah, vice president of Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB).

Technology has already played a large role in the beef industry, especially within recent years. Moser noted the immense advancements in genomic technology and access to data. Genomic evaluation applications and reports show up on his phone now. American Angus Association members can access genomic data online or through their smartphones.

Smartphones have been excellent in education and information dissemination, Butler noted. Rowan added that little things affect many big things. He cited electronic ID (eID) as an example. Those tags track everything about the calves in his feedyard, which lets him pay attention to factors affecting quality.

Sibbel mentioned that the sum total of change in medicine is high. Analysis of a virus, for example, now can tell its origin, how long the calf has had it and how best to treat it. There are huge opportunities with technology to know more about your herd.

Technology helps with communication on all levels, and the panel noted two major themes. Communication between beef industry segments is necessary, and so is communication with consumers.

Said Butler, “We must do a better job of sorting cattle with our available tools to make consumers satisfied. They will pay for quality. It takes an enormous amount of commitment to harmonize each segment. What happens is when a challenge comes in the market, and our commitment leaves and it becomes segmented again.”

Sibbel emphasized that it is a great time to be in the animal ag industry. Cattlemen must continue to evolve, improve and differentiate their product, and technology can help with that.

Moser concluded that all cattlemen have the challenge to process new information and technology, but he urged everyone to be lifetime learners and ask questions.

“There is the opportunity to take advantage of technology around the corner to be very profitable. Just take the time to learn about it,” Moser said.

The panel presented Wednesday, Nov. 5, during the Angus University program featuring "A Story of A Steak." This extension of the award-winning series of articles in High Plains Journal and segments on The Angus Report was sponsored with support of Merck Animal Health. For more information about the Angus Means Business National Convention & Trade Show, visit www.angusconvention.com.


Editor's Note: This article was written by staff or for the Angus Journal®. It is available for reprint upon request to editor Shauna Hermel. Photos are available upon request.

ANGUS MEANS BUSINESS. The American Angus Association is the nation’s largest beef breed organization, serving nearly 25,000 members across the United States and Canada. It provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on the power of Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers. For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association’s programs and services, visit www.angus.org.