Relationship-building is Key to Profitability when Selecting a Feeder

By BioZyme Inc.   |   Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA

Cow-calf producers have a lot of decisions to make to ensure their herd turns a profit. One of the biggest decisions they might make is selecting a backgrounding operation or a feedlot to finish their calves. In addition to making sure their nutritional needs are met prior to weaning and shipping, Twig Marston, technical sales field manager at BioZyme Inc., offers three timely tips when selecting a partner in feeding and finishing calves.

No. 1. – Share common goals. Marston said it is important that the backgrounder or feeder selected has common goals and philosophies in animal husbandry as the cow-calf producer does for his or her own operation. This includes everything from genetics and feeding to herd health and nutrition. Some yards specialize in high-quality cattle; some in high-risk; and others yet might have a focus on specific marketing programs. Select a yard or backgrounder that fits your animals’ needs and your marketing goals.

“You want to make sure that your cattle have the opportunity to perform to their highest potential, so you can make a profit through retained ownership,” Marston said.

If your end product is destined for an all-natural market, you would want to be sure that the lot you select to finish your cattle knows your goals.

No. 2. – Provide services. Marston said a great backgrounder or feedlot will provide more services than just caring for your cattle. Does the lot offer short-term financial assistance? Do they have their own marketing programs for which your cattle would qualify? Do they feed high-quality cattle for branded programs? If you are paying for a service, make sure you are getting the most for your money.

No. 3. – Trust. “Once you’ve signed an agreement for someone to background or finish your cattle, you’ve got a partnership, and like any partnership, trust is imperative,” Marston said.

Make sure you trust the owner, manager and employees who will be caring for your cattle on a daily basis. Oftentimes, you ship your cattle hundreds of miles away. If you can’t trust the people caring for them, then you need to start from scratch to find someone you can trust.

What if you are new to the cow-calf enterprise and don’t have a relationship built with a backgrounder or feeder or you don’t want to do things just like Dad or Grandpa did? The best way to find a reputable partner is to start communicating with others in the industry. Attend professional meetings and conventions, and talk to other producers with similar goals as you. Read industry publications, and ask questions.

Marston suggests reading the advertisements in publications because, he said, the good business people will invest in good advertising. In addition to reading and attending professional industry meetings, contact the feeder or backgrounder and talk to them directly. Visit their operation. A first impression will go a long way for you and your relationship building.

Editor’s Note: This article is provided by BioZyme Inc.