Saved from the scrap heap of marketing ideas by a single vote on several occasions in its history, the Certified Angus Beef® (CAB) branded-beef program turned 25 years old in August. Initiated as a strategy in marketing more Angus genetics, the CAB program left a reworked beef industry in its wake.

The CAB program not only made black the industry's favorite color (Angus genetics now account for more than half of the industry's genetics), but it helped usher in the era of branded beef and value-based marketing to what was almost exclusively a commodity business. The program helped spur the development of marketing cattle based on value and proved that product differentiation and effective promotion could elevate a branded product above traditional commodity pricing.

The industry's first branded-beef program generates $2.3 billion in consumer sales annually on sales of more than a half-billion pounds of beef. It's distributed in 37 countries via 11,459 partners.

The 25th anniversary was celebrated at CAB's 25th annual conference, held Aug. 21-23, in Cleveland, OH. Its executive headquarters are located south of Cleveland, in Wooster.


Environmental group sues to ban U.S. use of atrazine. The National Resources Defense Council is seeking a ban on the use of atrazine, the most widely used herbicide in the U.S. The lawsuit filed in September in Baltimore against the Environmental Protection Agency claims the agency has ignored the potential harmful effects of atrazine “on endangered fish, aquatic invertebrates, terrestrial plants and aquatic plants.”


The best weaning info is at www.beefcowcalf.com. That's just one of the multitude of cow-calf production and management resources you'll find at this unique research site dedicated exclusively to cow-calf topics. Just go to www.beefcowcalf.com and click on “Weaning Management” on the opening page menu for in-depth studies on early weaning, feeding management, health programs, preconditioning programs and more general topics.

The site consists of links to more than 1,200 research papers and fact sheets developed by the top animal science institutions in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, you'll find links to all the top animal science programs in the U.S. and Canada, as well as links to all breed associations, the Beef Improvement Federation, the latest market information, the industry's most complete listing of beef marketing alliances and much more.


Electron beam food research facility funded at Texas A&M. USDA will fund and establish a National Center for Electron Beam Food Research at Texas A&M University (TAMU). Based in TAMU's Institute of Food Science & Engineering (IFSE) to capitalize on the existing Electron Beam Food Research Facility, the new center will be dedicated to conducting research on electron beam technology for food and agricultural products; hosting industrial, academic and government research programs; and conducting outreach, training and education in the science and technology of electron beam irradiation. Find IFSE online at ifse.tamu.edu.


Australia is the number-one exporter of live cattle. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource and Economics (ABARE) report released in early September confirms Australia's position as the world's top live cattle exporter. The Northern Territory and Western Australia each account for ⅔ of Australia's total live cattle exports, while Queensland accounts for 25%. On average, the number of cattle sold for live export in these regions rose by 50% in 2001-2002.

The ABARE report reveals Australia exported 951,000 cattle valued at $581 million ($370m U.S.) in 2001-02. In fiscal year 2002/03, it increased to a record 1 million head. Chief export destinations are Indonesia, Egypt, Philippines and Malaysia. Other important markets include Saudi Arabia, Israel, Brunei, Japan and Mexico.


“Intermountain Planting Guide” is available. More than 100 different kinds of plants suited to rangelands, pastures, stream banks, road cuts or other sites needing reseeding in the intermountain states are profiled in a unique handbook called “Intermountain Planting Guide.” The easy-to-use, 104-page publication, compiled by Agricultural Research Service scientists in collaboration with Utah State University (USU) and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service experts, is a plant bible for Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming and Oregon.

To get a copy, contact USU Extension Publications at 435/797-2215 or e-mail extension.publications@usu.edu. Provide address, phone, etc., and request bulletin number AG 510. The $11.70 cost includes shipping. Mail orders can be made to USU, 860 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT, 84322-8960.


Its bloom having faded, Gardenburger seeks to go private. Gardenburger is looking a little limp these days, having plummeted from its apex of $100 million in sales in fiscal 1998 — during the nation's health-food craze — to $51 million in sales in fiscal 2001. Now, a group of managers are making a $4.5 million bid to take Gardenburger private in hopes of saving the Portland-based vegetarian food producer, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The article says Gardenburger has struggled despite its availability in 24,000 stores nationwide. Even an ad campaign that included buys in the Super Bowl and the “Seinfeld” finale telecast didn't bump Gardenburger into a mass-market item. Taking Gardenburger private will alleviate pressure from Wall Street to turn profits and could allow the company to thrive in a highly competitive sector, industry observers say.