Though producers throughout the state have been initiating value-added management practices for years in the hopes of attaining premium prices for New Mexico cattle, a new calf-marketing program in conjunction with the New Mexico Beef Cattle Performance Association (NMBCPA) shows more promise than previous efforts.
New Mexico bull producers are optimistic toward the New Mexico Gold Calf Marketing Program, which assists commercial calf producers in creating a more appealing package for potential buyers. The new program combines several previously successful value-added marketing techniques with newly concepted key elements: a strong genetic foundation in the calves, using only accredited, approved genetic (seedstock) suppliers who are members of the NMBCPA; identity and positive reputation for New Mexico calves; thorough vaccination and preconditioning protocols; DNA testing for beef quality; and too many other criteria to name.
The program also features increased educational programming through New Mexico State University (NMSU), which will create an even larger educational outreach network. Accordinig to John Heckendorn, NMBCPA board of director and owner of J-C Angus Ranch in Moriarty, NM, "Having NMSU rooted into the programs of the NMBPCA has been vital to our past and recent successes, and we are excited to have them on board with the calf marketing program."
According to the High Plains/Midwest Ag. Journal, "When a producer buys a bull from a genetic supplier, the genetic supplier will submit the contact information to the NMBCPA, and the NMBCPA will mail out a program qualification notice to the bull buyer with information about the NM Gold program. It is then up to each producer whether to go through the process of becoming certified."
According to Manny Encinas, a beef cattle specialist with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, DNA technology is improving so rapidly that valuable traits like feed efficiency and meat marbling and tenderness. "We have bulls in this year's sale offering that are as high as the top one percent of their breed for one or more of these traits," Encinas said.
The NMBCPA will also host the Pre-Sale Bull Session, Social and Supper, open to all cattle producers and potential buyers, on March 18th at the Tucumcari Convention Center.
For more information on this new program, please visit the High Plains/Midwest Ag. Journal Web site.