Angus cattle were on display during the cattle judging contest. Juniors circled around the arena at the Indiana State Fair Coliseum to judge the cattle during the show. Genetics, quality and consumer demand make the Angus breed stand out.
Angus cattle were on display during the cattle judging contest. Juniors circled around the arena at the Indiana State Fair Coliseum to judge the cattle during the show. Genetics, quality and consumer demand make the Angus breed stand out.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Angus cattle breed was highlighted at the Indiana State Fairgrounds during the 2014 National Junior Angus Show.

More than 1,000 head of cattle led by hard-working juniors walked through the cattle show sponsored by the Indiana Junior Angus Association.

The event is not just a cattle show, but teaches juniors involved valuable life lessons while they are advocating for the Angus breed, said Bryce Schumann, CEO for the American Angus Association.

The breed first came in to the country in 1873 and has continued to grow since then. The reason the breed has been able to grow and prosper is because it has come to be known for its high quality, Schumann said.

Consumer demand for a higher-quality product is what has driven the popularity of the breed.

“When consumers purchase beef, they’ll pay a little more, so it’s important that the quality is there,” Schumann said.

The Certified Angus Beef program, the world’s largest branded beef program, has helped get the message across about the superior quality, Schumann said.

“We’re committed to doing the very best we can to promote and foster quality beef production,” Schumann said.

In addition to the quality, genetics have continued to keep the breed in high demand. Angus have a reputation for feed efficiency and superior beef and are also known for calving ease and maternal characteristic, said Cathy Watkins, vice president of the association board.

Watkins, an Indiana farmer who will become board president in November, said consumers have come to recognize the quality that comes with the Angus breed.

“Consumers demand higher-quality beef, and the best place to get that is Angus,” Watkins said.

Marketing has played a major part in getting the word out about the breed. It’s important they get the message out to more than just members, but to consumers, Schumann said.

The association is involved in social media and other facets to spread the word. Although that is important, marketing is only one way to let consumers know about the brand, Watkins said.

“Marketing is getting the message out of what is already there,” Watkins said. “You have to have the product to back it up, and I think consumers have learned the quality is there.”

Another important piece of the puzzle is the advocacy for the breed and leadership opportunities that take place during the week-long show for the juniors involved.

“Developing young leaders is important,” Schumann said. “The experiences they gain allow them to be advocates for the breed and for agriculture.”

In addition to cattle contests and shows, the juniors are able to participate in speaking contests, quiz bowl contests and career development opportunities that help them become leaders, Watkins said.

“The juniors will be our leaders for tomorrow wherever they go next,” Watkins said. “There are some good life lessons they learn, and it’s important to give them skills they need to be successful.”