Welcome to our world! What’s that look like? Well, a lot like yours, I’m sure.

The idea for this blog came along one afternoon as I drove away from the Wehrmann Angus Ranch in New Market, Virginia last summer. A writer by trade, I had just spent the day with the management team at Wehrmann and a few of their bull customers. What a great group of cattlemen!

Richard McClung, Wehrmann Angus ranch manager

We had spent the day driving the county looking at cattle, talking about their ranch history, looking over performance data and discussing the tools that build a seedstock business as reputable as Wehrmann Angus.  We had lunch with a bull customer in an awesome small-town cafe. You know the kind: Richard had a hand-written tab at the front, the waitress knew each customer by first name and regular order, and you weren’t getting out of there without a good smothering of gravy and small-town gossip. What a day.
Late that evening, Richard and I waited for the perfect moment to catch some photos of their calves at sunset. I drove out of the Shenandoah Valley as wisps of pink and purple sky faded into the dark horizon, and I felt truly humbled. Not just by the majestic scenery,but by my whole day. How was it that a 23-year-old ag journalist from the Wyoming/Nebraska state line got to spend the day learning the cattle business from the likes of an industry vet like Richard McClung?
There are about 800,000 cattle ranchers in this country who gather their production information from neighbors over a fenceline, in cafes like the Southern Kitchen, at conferences and seminars, in print and online trade publications and by listening to the radio. I just had a ten-hour, hands-on, educational session/field day/coffee shop swap/interview, and my job was to relay the information I gathered from Richard and his team to cattle ranchers across the country in less than 1,800 words.

“But there’s so much more!,” I cried, as I pared 30 pages of notes down to a three-page story. It just didn’t seem fair that ten hours riding shotgun with Richard was going to be reduced to ten minutes of reading time. It didn’t seem right that I, just a recent college grad with no cattle of my own, would be the sole holder of the other 27 pages of valuable information Richard had shared that day. That was good information, by golly! That was valuable knowledge that other cattlemen and women could use!  

So it seemed to be my journalistic duty to find another way to share Richard’s, and the other cattlemen and women I work with across the country,  stories… or more appropriately, the story behind their stories. The rest of my team here at Certified Angus Beef will do the same.

Meet the CAB BlackInk team! You'll be hearing from most of these folks throughout the blog. We'll make formal introductions when the time comes. What a group!

I’ll introduce you to Steve and Miranda, my fellow writers, who will share experiences similar to mine, although Steve will bring his own perspective from his life-long career in the beef business. You’ll get to hear from our beef cattle specialists, Paul and Gary, who spend nearly every day of their jobs working with ranchers, feedlots and allied industry professionals and cattle production data and research. Trust me, a day with these fellas is an eye-opening and educational experience. Larry and Mark, our resident experts on basically everything cattle-production related, might even chime in every once in a while to share a little of their industry knowledge and perspectives.

So come along — in this blog, you’ll get to ride shotgun with us as we travel cattle country and share the stories that make up the Certified Angus Beef brand”s BlackInk team.

-Laura

Oh! I almost forgot — if you want to read about Richard and the Wehrmann Angus ranch, check out the story I wrote in the Angus Journal this fall: http://www.angusjournal.com/ArticlePDF/CAB%20Wehrmann%20C2E%2010_10%20AJ.pdf. Enjoy, and check back soon for more from that trip!