Producers to Be Paid Grid Premiums for AngusLink Beef Scores

May 07, 2024

By Sarah Kocher

For the first time, cattlemen can earn grid premiums based on the genetic merit of their cattle, stemming from their investment in superior genetics. National Beef Packing Co., LLC (NBP) announces the addition of new premiums on their U.S. Premium Beef, LLC (USPB) grid for qualified cattle based on their AngusLinkSM Genetic Merit ScorecardSM (GMS). AngusLinkSM value-added programs are administered by the American Angus Association® in partnership with IMI Global.

Effective for cattle harvested Aug. 5, a grid premium of $5 per head will be paid for cattle with a Beef Score of 100 or greater on the AngusLinkSM GMS. This will be exclusively available for cattle marketed through USPB and delivered to NBP plant locations in Liberal and Dodge City, Kansas.

On Dec. 1, a second grid premium, $10 per head for cattle with a GMS Beef Score of 150 or greater, will take effect. Those scoring 100-149 will continue to receive the $5/head premium. These premiums will be in addition to all other premiums and discounts available based on grading and carcass performance.

“National Beef is pleased to offer U.S. Premium Beef members this grid premium and new program in cooperation with the American Angus Association,” said Chad Barker, vice president of cattle procurement with NBP. “We’re excited to be adding another chapter to our history of creating innovative ways to reward producers for high-quality cattle.”

Mark Gardiner of Gardiner Angus Ranch and chairman of the USPB board of directors said this announcement is revolutionary, and he hopes it will inspire others to feed better beef through supporting advancements in genetics.

“This is revolutionary from the standpoint that there has never been a grid incentive based upon genetic merit,” Gardiner said. “We’re very thankful for National Beef and U.S. Premium Beef recognizing the value of genetics as identified by the AngusLink program.”

Brian Bertelsen, USPB vice president of field operations said, “For over 26 years, the USPB value-based grid has rewarded cattle that excel in carcass quality. This new program is an incentive for cattle feeders who market on the USPB grid to seek out and buy feeder cattle that are genetically designed to not only excel in carcass traits, but also growth and efficiency.”

The GMS objectively describes performance potential across four areas using a range from 0 to 200, with the industry average being 100. Beef Score predicts genetic potential for feedlot performance and carcass value and is calculated using the Association database and genetic information on sires and the cow herd.

“This is a significant step for the industry and speaks to the continued evolution of value-based marketing,” said Mark McCully, CEO of the Association. “National Beef understands the importance of genetics and is directly rewarding producers for their investment.”

USPB also said the third-party verification provided by IMI Global was a key factor in the decision to move forward with these plans.

Doug Stanton, senior vice president of sales and business development with IMI Global, said, “This new value-added opportunity rewards commercial cow-calf producers for the superior Angus genetics they have developed over the years in their operations. The Genetic Merit Scorecard values, along with third-party Age and Source verification, provide a complete package of product predictability and traceability to the beef industry and our loyal consumers.”

Cattle will need to qualify with their GMS Beef Score at least two weeks before harvesting. Most cattle currently receive a GMS prior to leaving their ranch of origin.

In addition, USPB is instituting a $1 per head premium, effective May 13, for each low-frequency EID tag that is read and assigned to a carcass ID number within each lot. No minimum number of tags will be required within a lot.

 There is no additional cost associated with the GMS program, aside from IMI Global's Age and Source verification enrollment, which includes an EID tag.

Troy Marshall, director of commercial industry relations with the Association, said the timing of the announcement is beneficial for cow-calf producers.

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