Recently we had the pleasure to sit down and talk with Trevor Caviness, President of Caviness Beef Packers and one of our Verified Premium Plus (VPP) partners. Caviness Beef Packers, LTD, is a progressive beef packer and processor whose products are marketed through a variety of foodservice and retail channels. The Dairy Quality Center (DQC) VPP program is the framework that enables Caviness to provide premiums for quality dairy-beef cows that qualify according to program objectives and specifications. More than 145+ dairies and 150+ certifying veterinarians participate in the program, providing value to packers and producers alike through higher carcass weights or premiums.
Get to know Trevor Caviness even more and the role he plays!
Caviness Beef Packers has been family-owned and operated for over 59 years and is currently led by 2nd and 3rd generation family members. Since 1962, Caviness has remained one of the most relationship-oriented companies in the beef industry. Today, the company process all grades from high-prime carcasses to commercial-grade cow products, and markets products worldwide. Our customer base is primarily in the foodservice, quick service restaurants, and retail industries. Our products go anywhere from co-ops, to mom-and-pops, to large distributors and retailers – such as Albertsons.
We have two different plants in Texas, Hereford and Amarillo, and a sister company in Idaho called CS Beef Packers which was started in 2017. Our Texas operations have 1,200 employees and harvest 13,750 head per week. Our Idaho operation processes 8,700 head per week. Most – 80-90% – of our processing is for cull cows, with dairy culls representing about 50% of each plant’s processing activity.
I think the consumer today wants to feel like they’re connected and knowledgeable about the products they eat. As far as beef goes, any way we can minimize antibiotic use in animals is key, just like it is in humans. This means we need to focus on animal health with natural supplements. Anytime we can control or be part of a supply chain that has initiatives that limit antibiotic use and promote overall animal health, then that’s the way to go.
Our definition of sustainability is producing more with less. If we can have healthier animals coming to the harvest process, we will have higher yields and fewer condemns. Today, people drive through feed yards and have concerns about the health and treatment of animals. But quality beef audits and DQC are showing consumers – and the world – the good our industry is doing regarding animal health and welfare.
For 80-90% of people, consumer-driven trends today all come down to one thing – price. However, it used to be 95-98% of consumers identified prices as they key factor. Over recent years, environmental sustainability, antibiotic stewardship, and animal care have become just as important a decision-making factor as price for more and more consumers and consumer-facing companies. This is probably due to social media and people becoming more and more opinionated. Ultimately, we must do a better job at telling our industry story. We need to be transparent about the good and the bad, and discuss where there’s room for opportunities. That’s why I enjoy being part of a program like DQC, because the program itself has many requirements for dairies that focus on the greater good of the animal.
DQC and the proactive VPP program have helped our operation regarding better animal health, quality, and transparency. We’re working together to provide consumers with confidence that the food they eat is produced through ethical and sustainable means, and to reward dairy farmers for producing premium beef and dairy products.
Being part of DQC also allows us to have more communication with our suppliers and talk about important things, such as animal health, quality, and yield. The more we can share with each other, and learn from each other, the better. In the end, this also means a better product for the consumer.