Michigan Angus family earns CAB Ambassador Award

Source: Farm Progress. The original article is posted here.

Michigan Angus family earns CAB Ambassador Award

Among Angus cattlemen, Seldom Rest Farms in Niles, Michigan, is a brand synonymous with show-ring success. But a few times a year, the farm hosts a bus loaded with visitors from the Meijer grocery communications team to see how the beef they sell is raised.

The Foster family opens its gates to share their story with Certified Angus Beef (CAB) partners, earning Seldom Rest Farms the CAB 2023 Ambassador Award. The family was recognized in September at the brand’s annual conference in Las Vegas.

Brothers Bruce and two-term American Angus Association board member Scott Foster operate Seldom Rest Farms along with Scott’s son, Andrew.

Just over 90 miles from Chicago, the pristine show facility and small groups of Angus cattle at Seldom Rest Farms provide the perfect backdrop to host CAB stakeholders from around the Midwest. Chefs from top restaurants, grocery store managers, butchers and beef marketers enjoy up-close interactions with Angus cattle. Hosting visitors helps build the value of the brand throughout the supply chain by allowing both sides to meet and ask questions.

"The Foster family doesn’t just open their farm to hosting groups, they create an experience that makes a lasting impression on the restaurants, distributors and grocery stores who sell the Certified Angus Beef brand," says Deanna Walenciak, CAB’s vice president of brand marketing, domestic. "Customers leave every visit with more confidence in how beef is raised and have a stronger connection to the people who are caring for the cattle."

Whether it's chefs or restaurant owners, Andrew says visitors are able to see what it's like on a daily basis for the people raising the product. “They can see the things we go through. They know where our passion comes from, where some of the struggles are and what keeps us going from day to day. And they can take those stories back and share with their customers and the consumers down the line."

The Fosters are building that fervor for agriculture with the next generation of Angus promotors, and opening their farm to share their own passion with stakeholders in the beef business in hopes of securing a stronger future for everyone who benefits from the brand.

Their passion for the junior livestock program ties directly to that for the future of production agriculture and opportunities for young people through all segments of the industry.

"As you look at the future, we really need to have these young people come back and be a part of the registered Angus business," Scott says. "We believe in the Angus breed for the opportunities – to find a place in the beef industry, no matter what segment you're in, and we still believe that opportunity exists for the next generation and the generation after that."

The Fosters have firsthand experience in the opportunities CAB helps create for anyone with a passion for the beef business. While Andrew manages the show cattle operation, his sister Danielle Matter works as director of brand experience and education for CAB.

Hosting groups from the opposite end of the supply chain lets the family build relationships with people who may have never set foot in a pasture. While success at Seldom Rest Farms might not be measured in pounds of beef sold, they view the opportunity to host groups as a service to all members of the American Angus Association.

"We believe in the product. We believe in our fellow Angus breeders who are out there producing seedstock. We believe in the packers, in the feedlots, [and all the people] who are making it happen," Andrew says. "It's important for visitors to see that we all care about the product that ends up on their plate."

That makes it a priority to find time to talk about what they do and how CAB plays a role in their ability to pursue this lifestyle by increasing the demand for Angus genetics.

"When we give a tour for CAB, we're representatives for the entire beef industry," Andrew says, "and we want people to know how much we care for the cattle and for the land."

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