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Identify the Competition
Don Schiefelbein, Schiefelbein Farms

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Tom Field
The industry and the market are changing, said Don Schiefelbein of Schiefelbein Farms, Kimball, Minn. Schiefelbein asked National Angus Conference participants if they were ready to change.
The beef business has changed, and it will never go back to “the good ol’ days,” said Don Schiefelbein of Schiefelbein Farms, Kimball, Minn., during the 2005 National Angus Conference.

The simple days of breeding seedstock are gone, and in an ever-changing industry it’s important to identify the competition, Schiefelbein said. “That competition is yourself,” he stated. “Who’s going to prevent you from being successful? Who’s going to allow you to be successful? It’s you. It’s absolutely you.”

To achieve success in today’s marketplace, Schiefelbein suggested producers start by analyzing their customers’ needs. “Every seedstock producer should ask themselves that question. What do our customers need? Why should they buy from you?”

It’s also important, he noted, to improve your cattle offering collectively, not just by single-trait selection. Both expected progeny differences (EPDs) and functionality in the environment are important aspects of raising quality seedstock, he added. “If you really want to be successful, you better have good functional cows that have good, tremendous EPD genetic inputs.”

Most importantly, cattlemen must provide value-added customer service to their customers.

“Value-added customer service is quickly becoming the most effective way to differentiate seedstock operations,” Schiefelbein said. However, creating value-added customer service isn’t easy. Producers must find a way to help their commercial customers sell their calves. That may require the use of a source identification (ID) program such as AngusSourceSM , special feeder sales, working with Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB)-licensed feedyards, or implementing a calf buy-back program.

— by Crystal Albers, associate editor, Angus Productions Inc.
© Copyright 2005 Angus Productions Inc.

Editor’s Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API), which claims copyright to this article. It may not be published or distributed without the express permission of Angus Productions Inc. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at (816) 383-5270 or shermel@angusjournal.com.

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