Describing beef supply and demand as a bit of a chess match, Bruce Cobb says he’s learned the game through various roles in the past three decades.
Starting March 1, the Texas native will take on a new vantage point as executive vice president of production for Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB).
“I’ve been able to participate on both sides of the industry, demand development and then supply and I enjoy figuring out: how can we satisfy the consumer and the end user by what we’re doing on the production side?” he says. “Blending those two pieces is where the good stuff is.”
Since 2005, Cobb has been at the helm of Consolidated Beef Producers, the country’s largest cattle marketing cooperative. He and his team traded 700,000 head of cattle annually across the West and Midwest.
“It’s clear we’re on the right track as it relates to quality. You can look at how consumers have responded just in the last four to five years and how the brand has grown,” Cobb says. “The challenge will be how do we get at those intangibles? These producers care for the animals. They care for the environment and the land. They want to do what’s right.”
But the “opportunity is still there” to communicate and capture the value in those facts, he says.
That’s just one of the challenges Cobb looks forward to in his new role. As executive vice president, he will oversee the brand’s supply development, producer communications and packing divisions, while serving as the voice of the producer to the greater company.
Premiums for the brand are built at the packing level, so cattlemen will also benefit from Cobb’s ability to help packers further identify sales opportunities.
“It was important to us that we found somebody so grounded in the production side that they had credibility with the cattlemen we serve, but also that they were able to see beyond the ranch gate to the way the whole beef community is interconnected,” CAB President John Stika says. “That is what’s really exciting about Bruce and the experience he brings.
“In addition, I really think he’s going to fit really well into the culture at CAB, which has been a hallmark of our success,” he says.
Cobb brings diverse perspectives, with experience ranging from the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo to Daymon Worldwide to the U.S. Meat Export Federation and Texas Beef Council.
“He’s spent time thinking like a retailer, international trader, cattle producer and consumer,” Stika says.
The son of West Texas cotton farmers, agriculture and FFA shaped Cobb early on. He spent just one semester as a landscape architecture major, before trading that for agriculture communications, earning his undergrad at Texas Tech University. His masters in international agriculture marketing at Texas A&M followed.
“It really comes down to the desire to continue to make a difference in the world of producers, whether that’s cow-calf, feeders or stockers,” Cobb says. “This is an opportunity to take that to the next level and really impact the wellbeing of producers from the production but also the demand side.”
Cobb and wife Margie have three children, and have spent their fair share of time driving to events and cheering them on from the bleachers. They’ve been very active in their local Canyon, Texas, community and the greater ag community.
“The heritage and legacy and the value of being a good steward, integrity and honesty—those are things I want to continue to celebrate and enhance along the way, because there’s just no other industry like agriculture,” he says.
Cobb begins his new role March 1, when he can be reached at [email protected].