Entrepreneurial Spirit and Quality

Former cattle feeder and entrepreneur shares how quality plays into entrepreneurship.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 5, 2014) — “What I’m here to tell you is an external validation of what you all have been doing for years,” Tom Brink, founder and owner of Top Dollar Angus Inc., told attendees of Angus University at the Angus Means Business National Convention & Trade Show in Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 4-6, 2014. Research produces knowledge, he said, and knowledge plus enterprise equals new technology. New technology creates productivity, efficiency and new business opportunities.

Tom Brink
Tom Brink

There are three types of practices in operation in the beef industry, Brink noted. Innovation is doing what could work, but hasn’t been proven yet. Convention is doing what does work. Tradition is doing what did work. There is risk in both innovation and tradition.

A good balance for most operations to employ is 20% innovative practices, 70% conventional and 10% traditional, said Brink. “Part of being an innovator is providing genetics that benefit the entire beef supply system. We have to think beyond our farm gate.”

Beef competes on taste and quality, not price, Brink emphasized. Grid premiums are driven by Prime and the Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) brand, and superior quality grades drive the grid premiums highest.

Brink shared that in his experience feeding cattle, the top steers grew faster, weighed heavier, marbled more, and had larger ribeyes and some degree of finish. Additionally, they were healthier and had better genetics.

“I’ve never lost money on grading Prime,” he said. “Healthy cattle that grow and grade are winners.”

Being an entrepreneur takes a really good idea. Money should be spent slowly and carefully, and entrepreneurship requires patience, patience and more patience. He emphasized that a tough skin is necessary; be ready to eat the word “no” for breakfast. A support system is also integral; link up with link-minded individuals.

“Thanks to Angus for listening to the market, paying attention to all segments of the industry, and for giving us better genetics to help the beef business prosper. Angus wins the award for the most entrepreneurial U.S. beef breed during the past 25 years,” he concluded.

Brink spoke 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.