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How does the Certified Angus Beef ® program work?

We are a nonprofit, limited liability company that owns only our trademark. We do not own any cattle or beef. To create marketing flow we allow the Certified Angus Beef ® brand trademark to be used by licensed retailers, foodservice distributors, restaurants and international distributors to effectively market the brand to consumers.

How is Certified Angus Beef LLC funded?

The only funding received by the company is from licensed packers and processors, which pay approximately 2 cents per pound of branded product that they sell. All of these dollars are applied to various marketing efforts to increase pull-through demand for the brand, ultimately returning premiums to the producers of high-quality Angus cattle.

How is the brand linked to the American Angus Association?

We are a subsidiary of the Association. The nine-member Certified Angus Beef LLC Board of Directors consists of the Association's Executive Vice President and six members of its board. Our tie to the Association translates into similar goals, although we are geared toward branded beef marketing. As stated in our mission, we are clearly focused on creating marketing opportunities for Angus and Angus-influenced cattle.

Certified Angus Beef LLC Mission Statement: Increase demand for registered Angus cattle through a specification-based, branded-beef program to identify consistent, high quality beef with superior taste.

How do I participate in the program?

By working to improve the carcass quality of your Angus and Angus-cross cattle. Anyone with that goal is part of the Certified Angus Beef ® brand program. It is a long-term process; there’s no such thing as “signing up.” There are no commitments other than the ones you make because of market forces. The Certified Angus Beef ® brand target is generally the highest value and most logical product target for most cattle that are Angus influenced.

When I see the word Angus used at restaurants or retail stores, does that mean it is Certified Angus Beef ® product?

Not unless you see the distinctive Certified Angus Beef ® shield. Since its origin in 1978, our company has established an extremely positive reputation for our beef. Subsequently, this has led to imitators in other Angus programs. Some of the specifications are below our "modest or higher" marbling level, and many do not monitor product use and promotion in restaurants and grocery stores as we do.

How big is the Certified Angus Beef ® brand?

It is the world’s largest branded beef company. More than half a billion pounds of beef will carry the Certified Angus Beef ® brand name this year. The brand is marketed through more than 5,500 retailers and 8,000 restaurants located throughout the United States and 45 other countries. To meet the growing demand, more than 3.2 million cattle must meet the brand's standards every year.

How do I certify my Angus herd?

No herds or live animals are actually certified. The Certified Angus Beef ® logo is the trademark for beef that, only after meeting the live specification of being at least 51% black-hide, the U.S. Department of Agriculture verifies as meeting our ten carcass specifications.

How can I associate with the brand?

Producers can participate by retaining some interest in calves till they are marketed to CAB licensed packers. One of the best ways to do that is by working with one of the CAB Feeding Partners to feed and market your Angus cattle. We help feedyard partners find ways to work with Angus seedstock and commercial producers. In return, Angus producers receive the benefit of working with a feedyard that understands how to manage Angus cattle to their highest net return.

Producers can also utilize any of the marketing tools and educational resources in the Marketing section of this website. Become a licensee for a day and serve Certified Angus Beef ® brand product at a sale or producer event; attend educational events in your area or company events like Brand Builders at the Education & Culinary Center in Wooster, Ohio, to learn more about the brand and how to incorporate it into your operation's marketing efforts.

How do I market Angus-type cattle?

Marketing cattle through CAB Feeding Partners is your best bet. The feedyard program was started by Certified Angus Beef LLC in 1999 and offers commercial cow-calf producers the opportunity to feed, co-own or sell their Angus-influence calves to interested Feeding Partners. When the cattle are ready to be marketed, those feedyard sell the cattle to Certified Angus Beef ® brand licensed packers.

Does the program buy cattle? Does it cost to be able to sell to licensed packers?

Certified Angus Beef LLC does not buy cattle. Its licensed packers do, in all the ways packers can buy finished cattle. Our company serves to build demand for your cattle, but cannot get involved in actually marketing them.

Thanks to more than 35 years of building demand, packers increased premiums for Certified Angus Beef ® brand-accepted carcasses from next to nothing in the early 1990s to as much as $7 per hundredweight (cwt.) now. In fact, packers have paid producers more than $450 million in premiums for cattle that have met brand requirements since 1998.

How do I acquire "Certified Angus Beef ® quality" cattle?

Producers can change a variety of herd management strategies to increase the number of cattle that meet Certified Angus Beef ® brand carcass specifications. The most effective way to improve the quality of your herd can be through selecting Angus genetics that are capable of achieving the higher quality grades. There are also opportunities for profit in balanced improvement along the way. Look at individual performance and carcass records associated with the cattle before buying. Visit the American Angus Association website or call (816) 383-5100 to talk with your Angus Regional Manager.

How can I feed my 20 steers in the branded program?

Twenty head of cattle may be too few to consider feeding cattle to finish, unless you have the experience and facility to do so at home, but you can only participate by marketing them to licensed processors. Those tend to be the largest packers, which in turn tend to buy from commercial feedyards. Some of those will custom feed small groups mingled with calves from other smaller producers.
To explore those options contact a quality-oriented feedyard in your area.

Can I participate without having feedyard and packer data on slaughtered cattle?

If you are not interested in receiving data on the cattle you feed, you may ignore this information opportunity.

However, seeing how your cattle perform on an individual carcass basis is the easiest way to make focused breeding and management decisions that add value to your feeder cattle. By comparing feedyard cattle harvest data with sire expected progeny differences (EPDs), producers can find bulls that improve their herd's ability to profitably produce carcasses that achieve higher levels of marbling and retail product, thus increasing profits.

I use registered Angus bulls, so why don't I receive a Certified Angus Beef ® premium for my calves?

You do, as shown by research from universities and Cattle-Fax, as well as the Certified Angus Beef LLC-funded auction market study, "Here's the Premium." Demand for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand translates into fed cattle premiums of $3-$5 per cwt. of carcass, and most of that premium is typically passed back to the live Angus calf, compared to non-Angus, at auction.

Do calves have to be 100% Angus to qualify?

No, just Angus influenced. Cattle coming in to licensed packing plants need to be at least 51% black-hided to be evaluated for the brand. Most cattle entering feedyard are commercial cattle and are not purebred or "100% Angus." Carcasses from Angus-influenced cattle are then subjected to our ten specifications that ensure the consumer a pleasurable eating experience.

What is a good carcass?

The National Beef Quality Audit, conducted by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, identified demand for beef displaying particular quality attributes. Specific factors were identified for hot carcass weight (HCW), ribeye area (REA), yield grade and marbling score. Each of these factors can be genetically influenced through the use of Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs).
Identified Targets:

  • HCW of 735-750 lbs.
  • REA of 12.5-14 sq. in.
  • Yield Grade of 3.0 or leaner
  • Quality Grade of Small 0 or higher (ie., USDA Choice minimum)
How many Angus-influenced cattle meet the brand's carcass specifications?

On a national average, less than one in four Angus and Angus-influenced cattle at licensed plants meet all ten carcass specifications and are marketed as Certified Angus Beef ® brand product. Establish benchmarks on what percentage of your cattle can make the cut today. Collect harvest information on your calves and apply it to breeding and culling decisions at the individual cow level.

Why don't more cattle qualify for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand?

Marbling is the major reason carcasses do not get accepted into the program. It is also the major contributor to the Certified Angus Beef ® brand product's characteristic flavor and juiciness.

Many cattle meeting the brand's live animal specification are crossbred, and only carry some of the Angus genetic advantage for marbling. This usually only leads to marginal success in achieving brand acceptance. By using registered Angus bulls with positive marbling EPDs in a well-balanced selection program, producers may strengthen the marbling capability of cattle identified for the brand.

Does CAB offer a program for my natural cattle?

Consumers were beginning to demand a high quality, naturally raised beef product, and we answered that need. In February 2004, we began a new brand extension known as Certified Angus Beef ® brand Natural.

To be in the natural program cattle have to meet the same ten carcass specifications as the brand. However, there are three additional requirements. The cattle must be raised without implants, antibiotics (injectable or fed) and animal byproducts. For more information, visit the Natural page.