The Sloan Livestock, Ltd. ranch brand has been in existence for 5 generations – since 1861, in fact. Jeff Sloan is aware though that change will have to occur regarding how his cattle are raised to keep up with consumer demands. Sloan said, “Sometimes you have to change something you’re doing to meet what works in our area due to weather, available land and a volatile market or change the genetics in order to meet the demand of the consumer.
Adapting to Change
Sloan said that in 2013, they realized that they needed to make a plan to earn more for the calves that were being marketed. This was when they found out about the calf buyback program at 44 Farms and decided to try it. “We purchase bulls from 44 farms and in turn they offer a buyback program for our calves, which are then marketed as all-natural through 44 Farms Steaks,” he mentioned.
44 Farms in Cameron, TX, offers clients of their genetics an opportunity for the farm to buy back offspring of the genetics. However, producers have to agree to adhere to all 44 Farms RightWay animal health and welfare conditions. This ensures the best opportunity for each animal to qualify for the farm’s all-natural branded beef program.
Various weight standards and overall acceptable body conditions are set for the animals and program participants like Sloan qualify to receive premium rates for their calves. This also provides 44 farms with plenty high quality beef to meet growing market demand for their 44 Farms Premium Angus Steaks.
Addressing and Fulfilling a Growing Demand through Teamwork
After seeing the results of this program, 44 Farms CEO, Bob McClaren, started the 44 Steaks program. “This is why Angus beef is the greatest protein. We need to share it with others, including folks at the finest restaurants.”
A sharp increase in demand for the 44 Steaks has further prompted demand for cattle sired by bulls at 44 Farms. The buyback system has enabled them to give something back to their bull clients. McClaren stated in this regard, “It has always been our belief that it is more important to connect with our customers than it is to sell them something. We also want to provide customers with the best possible eating experience they can have.”
About Sloan Livestock
The ranch is home to approximately 1,100 Angus cows, which aren’t given any form of feed additives, hormones or antibiotics. The cattle are however vaccinated annually to ensure that they remain as healthy as possible. After participating in the 44 Farms program, Sloan noted that they received a $20 per hundredweight premium on their calves because they had been third party verified as all-natural. He is hoping for this trend to continue.
Being open to change is how Sloan Livestock Ltd. has managed to stand the test of time. However, Sloan stated that it hasn’t been easy to find places for all of their cattle previously, resulting in many ranches being divided up. “We have had to make changes through the years and we may have to make more in the future, but we have to do what will help us stay in business and be successful,” he said.