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Agricultural News

NALF Aligns with Tyson to Promote Natural and Conventional Feeding Programs

Thu, 24 Sep 2015 11:39:05 CDT

NALF Aligns with Tyson to Promote Natural and Conventional Feeding Programs
By Mark Anderson, North American Limousin Foundation executive director

The North American Limousin Foundation (NALF) has aligned with Tyson Fresh Meats to offer commercial cattle producers and cattle feeders the ability to market cattle through existing branded programs that Tyson is currently marketing today. Producers can elect to market cattle into one of two natural cattle feeding programs, NHTC (non-hormone treated cattle), or utilize the Lim-Choice conventional fed cattle grid with Tyson.

Premiums for qualifying cattle under the NALF/Tyson procurement agreement for these programs are substantial depending on the program and the time of year the cattle are marketed for harvest. Commercial cow-calf producers will be able to increase the value of their feeder cattle by purchasing Limousin and Lim-Flex® bulls to use on their Angus or Red Angus based cow herds, and marketing the resulting progeny though these programs.

NALF already has members that are currently feeding a substantial number of cattle successfully into these programs on an annual basis with Tyson. NALF's goal is to qualify more Limousin-Angus cross feeder cattle that are eligible for these premium programs by identifying commercial operations that incorporate Limousin genetics into their breeding programs.

Tyson firmly believes in the heterosis advantages the Limousin breed provides when crossed with Angus. NALF will also be looking to identify and qualify additional feed yards that want to participate in these programs.

These programs will give Limousin seedstock producers the ability to attract more commercial buyers to utilize their genetics, particularly into natural programs where the heterosis advantages of using Limousin bulls crossed into straight Angus and Red Angus cows become apparent. This cross will ultimately capitalize on advantages in yield grade, feed efficiency, and increased cutability, while still being able to hit the Choice quality grade. The advantages gained by using Limousin genetics in this terminal cross will be valuable to the producer, feed yard, and packer, where the effect or implants and beta agonists are negated and the cattle have to solely rely on their genetic merit.

NALF/Tyson program options

The ability to market cattle into one of these programs can be accessible by calling NALF to get your ranch or feed yard qualified for one of the specific programs. A summary of the marketing options available the NALF/Tyson program is listed below.

Open Prairie Natural Angus (Global Animal Partnership, GAP) - Naturally raised and produced cattle that receive no antibiotics, hormones, beta agonists, or sulfa drugs. Producer and feedlot must go through the GAP certification process with third party verification. Cattle must qualify on Tyson's Open Prairie Natural Angus Genotype certification form, which requires parentage identification (Black Angus or Red Angus). NALF will require the use of Limousin genetics on the other half of the pedigree. Cattle must also be age and source verified which requires third party verification from a USDA approved PVP (Process Verified Program) company like IMI Global. Additional requirements of the GAP certification must be fully met, which means cattle must be raised and produced meeting defined animal welfare requirements in addition to defined humane handling practices. Cattle will be shipped to Lexington, Neb., for harvest.

Open Prairie Natural Angus (Non-GAP) - These cattle must meet all the requirements of option one, with the exception that they are not GAP qualified. Cattle must be approved through Tyson's natural affidavit with protocols met at all production levels. Cattle must be age and source verified. Cattle will be shipped to Lexington, Neb., for harvest.

NHTC (non-hormone treated cattle) - USDA's requirements to meet non-hormone treated cattle requirements for the European Union's Export Verification (EV) program. Cattle must be third party verified, along with age and source verification, and meet all program requirements. Cattle will be shipped to Lexington, Neb., for harvest. Cattle must hit a threshold of 70 percent Choice or higher. There is no Angus requirement for NHTC cattle.

Lim-Choice grid with Tyson - Conventionally fed cattle that carry the Lim-Choice ear tag can utilize this grid. Cattle can be shipped to the nearest Tyson plant location for harvest.


Natural and NHTC cattle can be priced using one of the following two options. Once an option has been selected, between selling cattle live or in the beef, that option will remain in place for that producer throughout the year on additional lots of cattle.

A: Live-basis - Cattle will be sold using the Nebraska live weighted average. Cattle will be weighed, picked up in the afternoon, with a 5 percent shrink. Tyson will pay the first 300 miles of freight.

B: Dressed (carcass) weight - Cattle will be sold using the Nebraska weighted average, dressed steer price with the feed yard paying the freight.


Premiums for cattle committed to various programs can change. Once cattle are committed to Tyson by the feed yard, the premium will not change. Individuals wanting to commit cattle into the programs should contact NALF to get current premium quotes or check with Tyson procurement for cattle to be shipped under the NALF/Tyson agreement. All cattle will need to carry the Lim-Choice ear tag or a tag that is program compliant to qualify for premiums through the NALF/Tyson program. Correct paperwork must accompany cattle with shipment or premiums will be forfeited.

The branded premium natural programs with Tyson and the conventional Lim-Choice grid are programs that depend heavily on high quality- and superior yield-grading cattle. Cattle that achieve both of these requirements while still adding more pounds in the production phases of the cow-calf and feeding operations, as well as the packing industry, are desired heavily at all phases in the production chain and ultimately to the consumer. Markets and consumer trends are changing and will continue to evolve.

There is a generation of Millennials that will be a major force in the market place. A considerable percentage of this consumer base will desire natural beef as a preferred choice, and will pay a premium for various natural beef products. Natural beef production comes at a cost to the producer when protocols are followed in the production phases of the beef industry. This requires superior genetics that affect performance and carcass quality.

While there will continue to be a high demand for conventionally produced beef throughout the United States, there is a wonderful opportunity to capture and offer the choice of a high quality natural beef product to consumers. Superior genetics will be required of cattle going into these programs in terms of both feeding performance and overall carcass quality in order not to erode the premium that is paid for the cost of natural beef production.

Commercial cow-calf operators looking to make feeder cattle that will qualify for these programs in an effort to increase their sale value, along with capitalizing on increased weaning and yearling weights at time of sale, should contact NALF for a listing of various Limousin and Lim-Flex seedstock providers in their area. Current Limousin breeders wishing to provide more information to their commercial bull buyers should also contact NALF for assistance in getting their feeder cattle qualified for these programs.

For more information on the NALF/Tyson premium programs, contact Mark Anderson at 303-220-1693 or Mark@NALF.org.



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