A new program called “Top Dollar Angus” intends to provide a link between ranchers who have invested in high-quality Angus genetics and cattle feeders wishing to procure calves that will perform well and qualify for premium Angus-branded programs.

Top Dollar Angus is a genetics certification and marketing company focused exclusively on the best Angus-influenced feeder cattle/calves in the industry.  To qualify, feeder cattle or calves must contain two or more generations of Angus genetics with growth and carcass traits in the top 25 percent of the breed. 

Tom Brink, who founded the program, headed up a major breed association before spending years managing cattle procurement for JBS-Five Rivers, the nation’s largest cattle-feeding company. Over the years, he says, he came to understand what cattle feeders look for in the calves they buy, and which cattle make the most money for feedyards.  

Brink says the top 25 percent of the Angus population for growth and carcass traits (as captured by the “$B” selection index) are capable of creating well-above average value for the cattle feeder and packer. So, the Top Dollar Angus program is designed to help the rancher capture a share of that value.

Brink says the existing cattle supply chain includes, on one end, ranchers who produce Angus cattle that excel in the feedyard and on packer grids, but need a way to differentiate their cattle. On the other end, cattle feeders and packers have a system that rewards high-performing, high-carcass-value cattle. They need more of those high-end cattle to satisfy consumer demand, but often know very little about the true genetic merit of feeder cattle.

The Top Dollar Angus program, he says, can provide a mechanism to accurately identify top-end Angus cattle and reliably communicate this identity to the buyer.

While the program is still building, Brink says 35 feedyards, with plans to buy more than one million head of high-end Angus feeder calves during the next year, have agreed to participate. Feeder cattle that qualify are eligible to receive at least a $50 per head premium over the average market when sold to partner feedyards. Participants will pay a $4 per head licensing fee to market calves through the branded program.

To qualify, ranchers will need to first qualify their cow herd, or a portion of the herd, genetic merit. They’ll also identify the sires used, and a combination of the sire and dam rankings as measured by $B will determine whether their calves meet the program’s specifications. Scores from the GeneMax DNA test, offered by Certified Angus Beef in partnership with Zoetis, also can qualify calves for the program.

For more information contact Tom Brink at 303-478-4331, or tom.brink@plattebeach.com.