Deciding to become a purebred producer can be an intensive and costly venture.  It involves finding quality seedstock, developing a productive herd and of course, marketing cattle to their full potential.  To be successful, producers should take advantage of the resources available through national and state breed associations.
Josh Worthington, the general manager of the Missouri Angus Association, said producers just starting out in the purebred industry should utilize both state and national association employees to get information and advice.  
“The people working for the associations have usually been in the business for a number of years and can offer tips that can make a difference in a producer’s success,” Josh said.  
Josh also pointed out that producers should remember membership in a national breed association is usually different than at the state level.  
“Producers join national breed associations to register their cattle, but joining the state breed association is always a good idea because of the added benefits like being listed in a state directory of breeders, receiving publications with area-specific dates and information and participating in association-sponsored sales throughout the year,” he said.  “These benefits help producers stay informed and educated about what is happening in their breed around their state.”
Most state breed associations charge yearly dues and provide members with numerous services.  They also allow producers to pool assets and more effectively advertise a breed.
Marty Lueck, president of the Missouri Hereford Association, said joining a state breed association is also a good way for new producers to meet breeders who have experience in the business.
“Those who are just getting started in the purebred business should closely follow other seedstock producers and make sure they know how each producer’s cattle perform before buying the animals.  Finding a quality sources of cattle is an important step in starting a herd,” Marty said.
Marty also said producers should read publications, speak with other producers and constantly educate themselves about what is going on in their breed.
“Everyone should belong to something bigger than themselves.  Most associations offer field days or seminars where breeders can get together to learn about preparing and selling cattle and the new technology available out there,” he said.  
Producers should also determine the type of market they want to sell their cattle and use association resources to build a quality herd, said Connie Grant, president of the Missouri Limousin Association.
“Whether they are selling bulls to commercial producers, club calves to youth or semen and embryos to other producers, breeders have to be aware of who their clients are and which niche market their product fits in,” Connie said.  “Producers can choose to further specialize cattle for growth, low birth weights or even marbling.  Most national associations provide databases of registered animals where breeders can view EPDs and determine which bloodlines would work best within their herds.”
Gregg Alsup, a Missouri Charolais Association director, said after producers become active in a breed association, they should look into the various activities the association hosts and decide which ones will most benefit their program.
“Membership in a state breed association keeps producers interested and updated.  Whether it’s sponsoring an award at a major national show, organizing statewide sales or acting as mentors to new breeders, association members are actively promoting their product and getting out to meet other producers,” Alsup said. “This is a people business, and personal contacts will help you more than anything.”


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