I'm A Drover: 25 Years Strong for Certified Hereford Beef
This year the Certified Hereford Beef (CHB) brand celebrates a milestone success: its 25-year anniversary. The brand was founded as a Select and higher program with USDA in 1995, following an American Hereford Association study of Hereford beef against commodity USDA Choice, Select and Prime products. When the program was developed, a much higher percentage of the cattle participating in the Hereford program graded Select compared to what they grade today.
From there, passion and commitment to a superior product has allowed the CHB brand to flourish. As the years passed and consumer demands shifted, the producers participating in the program continually improved their product, and in 2003 the brand was able to introduce a USDA Choice program. In 2017, further improvement allowed for the creation of the Certified Hereford Beef Premium program, which is an upper two-thirds USDA Choice or higher quality grade product line.
The expanded offerings are a testament to the high quality of cattle the Hereford producers are committed to raising, Amari Seiferman, president and CEO of CHB, says.
“The creation of the Premium program is a testament to the quality of the cattle being produced today and how they have been increasing in performance over the years. The Premium program is our fastest growing and most well-received program with over 10 million pounds currently being sold each year. The quality the Premium program offers is the future for CHB. The last 25 years have been a stable foundation for growth for the brand. Our continued growth in numbers
and performance highlight the stability and quality factor of the brand,” she says.
In fact, Hereford cattle consistently grade high enough that CHB phased out carcasses grading Select from the program in 2019 and focuses on its two higher grade programs exclusively.
“We have a superior product that adds value to our industry partners’ product portfolio. We believe in what the CHB brand represents and our goal is to help support our industry partners in advancing their business with the tools and resources we have the ability to provide,” Seiferman says.
Aside from continual improvement, a hallmark initiative for CHB is education. Not only for partners in the retail and food service industry, but consumers as well, because as consumer wants have changed through the years, transparency has become more important than ever.
“We represent a brand that provides services focused on education, sales and marketing to tell the Hereford story and connect the consumer to the producer to build trust and transparency,” Seiferman says.
“By building a platform of education around beef production and the Hereford breed, we are able to show industry professionals and consumers the time, care and science behind producing high-quality beef products.”
As for what’s in store for the next 25 years, differentiation in the market and brand awareness will lead to continued success, which is an exciting prospect for Seiferman.
“What drives us each day is the opportunity for growth for the brand. We are in a market that is heavily saturated with Angus brands, and we have the ability to offer a high-quality product that is equal to or greater than most other programs on the market today. We have the capacity to provide grocery stores and restaurants with wholesome and quality products that will provide a great eating experience and offer their business customer loyalty, which in turn translates to repeat business. We strive to help our partners’ business be successful,” she says.
Telling the brand story in a way that resonates with those industries creates more opportunity for growth in the future, she continues.
“We are committed to build a brand that will continue to grow for generations,” she adds. “Our focus on brand awareness and continuing the Hereford legacy will always be at the forefront of our continued advancement.”
Building the Brand
Equally invested in theCertified Hereford Beef brand is National Beef Packing Co., partners since 2003.
“Growing a branded beef program is not an easy task,” says Cathy Sturm, National Beef Packing marketing manager. “At the very core of growing a branded beef program are two basic requirements: the ability and the commitment to deliver on the promise of the brand. A branded beef program cannot survive with only one of those two; both are required. That speaks a lot to the people who have been involved in the success of the Certified Hereford Beef brand, from the producers all the way through the folks in the packing plants and salespeople on the street.”
Sturm explains an increase in quality grade has also led to growth.
“The upper two-thirds USDA Choice product hits a sweet spot at the intersection of quality and price, and consumers buy the best quality their budget will allow,” Sturm says.