There are many ways to add value or differentiate your cattle, especially if you sell on a video sale where you have the opportunity to advertise to thousands of buyers throughout the country. Adding value can be as simple as insuring that you have a uniform set of calves with a comprehensive vaccination program, or can be more complex and include multiple marketing claims such as “natural” or “source and age verified.” To help our consignors understand some of the various marketing claims that buyers are currently looking for, we put together this fact sheet. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact your representative or WVM staff and let them know you are looking for more information about value added programs.
We have listed some of the most common programs that video sale consignors participate in, along with a brief description. Keep in mind that new programs will continue to emerge, and you'll want to work with your WVM representative to determine the best fit for your cattle and operation.
Western Video Market Natural: Owner-certified "natural" meaning that as a consignor, you are willing to sign an affidavit stating that the cattle being marketed have never received any antibiotics, added hormones, or consumed any animal by-products via feed supplements. If you are marketing a set of purchased cattle as WVM Natural, you must also have on file an affidavit from the original owner(s) that the cattle met natural requirements while in his or her care.
Source and Age Verification (SAV): Developed to meet internation export requirements after the United States identified its first case of BSE to document the age of an animal at harvest. Often is considered a foundational program for other third-party certifications. Requires an audit of calving records by an approved company with oversight from the U.S. Deparrtment of Agriculture (USDA).
Non-hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC): Qualifies beef for export to the European Union. Cattle may never receive any added hormones. Requires an on-ranch inspection by a third-party auditing company with oversight from the USDA.
Verified Natural: Cattle meet the same requirements as WVM Natural, but the ranch has participated in a third-party verification versus "self-certifying" via an affidavit.
Certified Organic: Cattle must be raised in a manner that complies with the USDA Organic Standards. Producers participating in this program must undergo on-ranch inspections by an approved organic certifier.
Global Animal Partnership (GAP): The fastest growing certification attribute in beef cattle is for welfare. GAP is a welfare certification that is required by Whole Foods, a major U.S. retailer. All GAP-qualified cattle must also meet natural requirements. There are other welfare certifications for cattle; however, this is the one most common among Western Video consignors.
Emerging Programs: We continue to see more growth in the area of genetic and animal health verifications. Additionally, you may see private companies create new certification standards in the future. Feel free to contact WVM or your representative for more information.
Click on graphic below to download WVM Value-Added fact sheet