As Certified Hereford Beef (CHB) expands its production, the program is calling on auction markets to continue to play a critical role in the supply chain.

"We have got to do a better job of communicating with America's auction markets," says Rob Ames, American Hereford Association's (AHA) director of product marketing. "Meeting our growing demand means that we have got to find more white-faced cattle for our feeders."

At the hub of this effort is HerfNet, a marketing communication network established by the AHA to gather and report feeder calf availability to a target buyer audience. The weekly report is available online, at www.HerfNet.com, and is faxed to 51 feedyards who supply CHB. Most listings are made through the web site or by a toll-free call to 866-437-3638.

HerfNet is designed to capture information on all Hereford-influenced feeder cattle. Last year, the free service listed 32,000 head of calves and yearlings available through 60 auction markets, in 16 states. In addition, 37 sale barns hosted special feeder calf sales, which load lots of Hereford, and baldy calves are gathered for the growing audience of CHB buyers.

To participate, auction market managers simply phone, fax or mail information about cattle in their barn to the HerfNet operator. The data they provide is entered into a database, formatted, sorted and redistributed to those target feeders and order buyers looking for Hereford-influenced cattle. While each set of cattle and contact information is listed on the Internet at HerfNet.com, that particular technology is only a part of the HerfNet system. AHA staff verbally contacts weekly with many of the feedlots that supply CHB and plans to aggressively market cattle in the HerfNet database to those feeders who can assure that CHB can grow larger in the future.

According to Ames, CHB maintains a weekly harvest of 1,800 head of Hereford and baldy cattle. "To enjoy any significant growth, we need to rally around our supply channel and give our feeders the ability to deliver 3,000 head of eligible cattle every week in the year."

For more information on CHB or HerfNet, please contact Rob Ames, at 816-842-3757.

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