Angus unveils long-range plan

Farm Forum

Anticipation was evident Monday, Nov. 7, as Angus breeders from across the country crowded into an Indianapolis, Ind., meeting hall for the American Angus Association 133rd Annual Convention of Delegates.

The meeting was the capping event of the three-day Angus Convention, where about 2,000 Angus seedstock and commercial producers, academia and allied industry met for educational sessions and thought-leading keynote lectures — all largely based on leadership, innovation and business culture.

The annual meeting represents the culmination of the fiscal work of the world’s largest beef breed organization as well as the election of officers and new board directors. This year, members also gathered to hear Association CEO Allen Moczygemba unveil the Association’s Long-Range Strategic Plan (LRSP).

“As an Association, we’ve been blessed with strong leadership that has had the resolve to plan for the future, to make the right decision at the right time,” Moczygemba told delegates and attendees. “Those landmark decisions ensured our breed was positioned for long-term growth. This new Long-Range Strategic Plan, led by the Board of Directors, represents that same commitment to innovative decision-making so evident in Angus history.”

Angus board directors and staff pursued a long-range strategic planning process in 2016 to pioneer a new era of progress and to grow the already dominant position of the Angus breed and brand.

“Our leaders spent months establishing the plan, gathering important input from all sectors of the beef cattle industry, from seedstock to cow-calf producers, from feeders to allied industry partners, from marketers to retailers and academia,” Moczygemba explained. “The result was the most comprehensive and far-reaching effort of its kind for the organization.”

Extensive surveys, focus groups and market analyses resulted in a bevy of valuable insight that revealed challenges and opportunities for the Association and registered Angus genetics in a rapidly evolving business. Main themes included changing market dynamics; increased competition, technological and informational needs; and growing international opportunities and beef demand.

The thorough assessment led Association directors to identify five core areas of focus for the organization in the next three years: genetics, commercial programs, leadership, product and research.

“The long-range plan will create new opportunities and a framework for our future,” explained Jim Sitz, Montana Angus breeder and outgoing Association president and chairman of the board. “It includes an expanded focus on commercial producers, and also strengthens our genetic evaluation capabilities. I’m proud to say that we have assembled a plan and a team that challenge a complacent status.”

In his opening remarks as the organization’s newly elected president, Kentucky cattleman Charlie Boyd said the Association’s plans are aggressive and offer the possibility to define the breed’s future.

“I think this is one of the best plans this organization has ever developed, and I’m proud of it,” Boyd said. “It will solidify Angus as the worldwide centerpiece for genetic evaluation and position our organization for further leadership within the industry.”

Key points call for the establishment of the Genomic Education Center, a multi-use facility that will expand the Association’s Saint Joseph, Mo., headquarters as well as its capabilities to conduct research, disseminate information and provide education to the industry; greater service and information sharing with the commercial cattle sector to drive the value of registered Angus genetics; an expanded industry leadership position; creation of recordkeeping platforms; global opportunities and brand awareness; and increased research emphasis on traits like fertility, feet and leg structure and other areas.

“This plan demonstrates that the board and the membership are not taking anything for granted,” Boyd said. “We’re moving forward because it’s our obligation to our past and to doing what’s right for the future of Angus.”

Moczygemba said the work now begins.

“This isn’t a plan that will rest upon a shelf. In the weeks and months ahead, we will set these initiatives in motion in order to ensure success decades down the road,” he said. “It’s another right decision at the right time that will enable each of our 25,000 members to achieve our collective mission of enhancing the genetics of the Angus breed, broadening its influence and expanding the market for high-quality Angus beef worldwide. We’re poised for a new era.”