Nevil Speer, a Western Kentucky University professor of animal science, says the survey results indicate the industry is making good progress on the management and marketing side. “But we need to make better progress on the financial management side. That, however, will likely be driven further in years to come from various lending entities,” he explains.

Most interesting to him, Speer says, are the relationships around marketing and profitability that the survey results illuminate.

“Nearly half of all producers indicate they are involved in some type of differentiated marketing strategy, with almost 80% of those indicating it is a favorable endeavor. In other words, value-based marketing is favorable for nearly 40% of the respondents to this survey. We’ve come a long ways from 20 years ago and commodity-based marketing!”

In addition, Speer points out that nearly half of respondents are at least retaining ownership through the stocker phase. “That means they’re pretty intent on capturing the value of their genetic inputs and management beyond the weaning stage.

“What’s more, nearly one in four are involved in forward contracting calves. Thus, they’re using new strategies in an attempt to capture more revenue and exercise some alternative risk management to the operation.”