Late summer has been extremely busy for the staff at NALF. The Emerging Leaders Academy (ELA) was a successful event with Limousin members having had the opportunity to engage with CattleFax, National Cattlemenâ€™s Beef Association (NCBA), U.S. Meat Export Federation and JBS/Five Rivers. Additionally, participants visited a 30,000-head feedyard in northern Colorado that feeds cattle not only conventionally, but also to a variety of branded programs that incorporate Limousin cattle into natural programs like Lauraâ€™s Lean, Tyson Natural and Meyers Natural Beef.
This class of ELA also had the opportunity to visit Magness Land & Cattle to get an overview of their operation. We thank those who contributed their time to assist in giving our ELA participants exposure to additional segments of the cattle business as we strive to meet demands for all involved in the production chain, including the consumer. I also thank the participants of the ELA for taking time out of their busy schedules to come to Denver for the two-day event.
The NALF Board of Directors had a successful summer meeting in August. As a result, you will start to see a more aggressive marketing campaign to promote the Limousin breed over the next fiscal year. The board was able to approve a zero budget, but at the same time was able to raise our national advertising dollars substantially by reinvesting a portion of our retained earnings at NALF over the last two fiscal years back into national advertising and promotion. The board remains aggressive in finding ways to generate new income for the Foundation rather than increasing memberâ€™s rates during this trying time when the drought is still a major concern throughout much of the U.S. You, as members, will also start to see additional programs that will offer services from financing to corporate sponsorships over the next fiscal year that can help generate income to promote and market our breed.
NALF Board of Director President Bob Mitchell is continuing to stress that now is the time to market the positive attributes of our breed and what it has to offer to the cattle industry. NALF has spent a tremendous amount of time and money the last 10 years on technology, computer systems and research to ensure the Limousin breed has one of the best herd books in the country.
We now offer a genomic profiler through GeneSeek for breeders to incorporate molecular breeding values (MBVs) into their EPDs so breeders have an additional tool to make advancements on traits with greater accuracies, regardless of the size of your cowherd. With the investments in technology NALF has made, the board recognizes the fact that now is the time to market and promote the Limousin breed aggressively to the rest of the industry.
In spite of the recent press proclaiming the virtues of straight-breeding, many in the commercial cattle industry are aware of the value crossbreeding offers. These operations are utilizing what Continental breeds bring to their English-based herds as they market their cattle into feedyards, packinghouses and eventually the consumer. With forced and continued liquidation of our nationâ€™s cowherd, I continue to believe that with much of the commercial cow industry consisting of black-hided, English-based cows, Limousin-influenced sires can produce a calf crop that helps all the way through the production chain. The resulting progeny will increase weaning weights and produce great replacement heifers with maternal advantages that return dollars to the commercial cow-calf producer.
Those same feeder cattle will boost feed performance and increase dollars whether it involves running cattle on grass or moving cattle into grower yards or finishing lots. The improvement in feed efficiency at the stocker, grower and feedyard sectors of the business is apparent on closeouts when lower cost of gain and better dry matter conversion are the major factors in determining profitability. Those same cattle give similar economic advantage to the packing industry in terms of improved dressing percentages, pounds of useable product and less fat trim. Making cattle that have higher yield grades while still having the ability to grade Choice have great economic value to the cattle business. These advantages are dollars reflected in pounds out the back door that make a difference to a competitive packing industry that operates on the economy of scale.
After mentioning all of the above positive attributes, we need to remember that our cattle are grading better than ever before, particularly our Lim-FlexÂ® cattle that are being used more heavily in the commercial cattle business. After feeding thousands of cattle in the feedyard business, I quickly learned that Limousin-influenced feeder cattleâ€”that would be representative of the Lim-Flex portion of our seedstock businessâ€”were consistently grading between 75-85 percent Choice.
Once Limousin breeders addressed the docility issue and began breeding cattle with more rib and production traits, a lot of good has come out of those changes. Cattle that have a better temperament are more efficient at the feed bunk, and a side benefit to that is enhanced quality grade. Knowing that our purebred and fullblood cattle can be geared towards branded programs such as Lauraâ€™s Lean and Strauss, while offering cattle that work in higher grading markets, I donâ€™t know of another breed that offers the advantages and diversity as Limousin do.
I would like to remind each of you to send your Pfizer Animal Health receipts to the NALF office on any products you may be using in your operation or your customerâ€™s herds. We are excited to be partnered with Pfizer Animal Health and this incentive program will add extra dollars that can be used by our breed for education, research and junior programs to advance and promote Limousin cattle long-term. In order for this program to be successful, remember to fax or e-mail Bobbi Hartwig your Pfizer receipts.
If you have any questions about the new services and programs offered at NALF, feel free to contact the NALF staff, we are here to help you!