Certified Hereford Beef LLC reports record volume in 2013

Farm Forum

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -Certified Hereford Beef (CHB) LLC experienced another year of growth during fiscal year 2013 despite the challenging U.S. economy. The company posted a record year in volume with 48.8 million lb. sold – a 4% increase compared to the previous year.

“Despite tight cattle supplies, record high beef prices and somewhat stagnant beef promotion due to the wide price spreads between beef and competing proteins, CHB LLC reported another record year for volume,” says Craig Huffhines, American Hereford Association (AHA) executive vice president. CHB LLC is a subsidiary of the AHA, with its fiscal year ending Aug. 31.

“At a time when retailers and consumers are cinching their belts, CHB LLC expanded the program,” Huffhines says. “Both harvested cattle numbers and carcasses certified that meet the specification were up by 5% during fiscal year 2013.”

Much of the growth came from expansion of new retail store openings for existing customers along with a rejuvenated case-ready ground beef program. CHB LLC’s largest customer – The Fresh Markets (TFM), based in North Carolina – added eight new locations since the first of the year to bring total store numbers to 137 in 26 states. Total CHB¨ volume for TFM increased 12.6%, generating more than 8 million lb. of beef sold during the fiscal year.

Cattle numbers required to supply the CHB program continue to create demand for Hereford and Hereford-English baldie cattle. More than 382,000 cattle were identified through CHB-licensed packing facilities during FY 2013 as eligible from a live specification standpoint, while more than 259,000 carcasses were certified for the program – a certification rate of 68% for FY 2013.

“We are thrilled with the growth of the Certified Hereford Beef program and the continued credibility that the Hereford breed is gaining not only in the consumer food sector but also in the demand created for Hereford genetics within the commercial cattle industry,” Huffhines says. “The Hereford breed is a well-established iconic breed within the U.S. cattle industry that is bringing a rejuvenated value to the industry at a time when the industry needs it the most.”

Currently CHB is offered in 301 retail supermarkets in 35 states, as well as through 38 foodservice distribution centers serving restaurants. Since the inception of CHB, 4.3 million cattle have been identified through licensed packing plants as meeting the live animal specifications, and 2.6 million carcasses have been certified to carry the CHB name.