Another thing suppliers can do to gain the attention of cattle feeders like Five Rivers is bring them cattle comprised of the breed mix that works best for them.

"A large number of the industry's cattle are still designed wrong genetically," Brink said. "Too many have the wrong breed composition to succeed in the feedlots and to satisfy the consumer."

Specifically, Five River wants cattle that are 50-75% Angus, up to 50% Continental, with no more than 25% Bos indicus or other breeds in the cattle.

"You will be paid more for avoiding breed composition problems in your cattle," Brink said. In other words, historically wide price ranges for same-class, same-weight, same-sex cattle will continue to grow based at least in part on breed composition.

According to Brink, ineffective breed composition in cattle is costing the industry millions of dollars as well as competitiveness in the global beef market.

Bottom line, Brink believes feeder cattle value is built in steps. First, comes breed composition, which allows producers to obtain at least market price. Combine that with certified immunity and Brink says the door opens to grid premiums. Add source and process verification to the mix and the opportunity for branded beef premiums are possible.

That's not just lip service, either. Brink pointed out, "We have never had a marketing system that rewards true value like we have today. Leverage it to your advantage."