The agriculture industry is based on pivotal business relationships, that in turn create life-long friendships that many in the industry can attest to. Growing up in a small rural community in the foothills of California on his family’s Hereford ranch, Graham Blagg always had a passion for the livestock industry and the people that came along with it. Following graduation from Nevada Union in 2008, Graham served as Vice-President for the California State FFA. He traveled around the state for a year meeting with chapters and representing agriculture at various functions. In 2009, Graham moved to El Reno, Oklahoma to judge livestock at Redlands Community College under the instruction of Dr. Clay Elliott. Graham credits much of his success today to the knowledge and practical experience gained from Dr. Elliot. “Clay is one of the best marketing minds in the livestock industry. There is no price tag or tuition that can applied to the practical knowledge and real-world experience he taught us,” says Blagg. Graham’s team was highly competitive, and they saw numerous successes both years at Redlands. Graham remains close to several of his teammates, who are also still involved in the livestock industry today.
Blagg continued his judging career at Texas A&M University and was a member of the competitive 2012 livestock judging team. Graham finished his senior college livestock judging career by being named the 2012 NAILE High Individual. While at TAMU, Graham became involved in the Simmental breed through his job at the Texas A&M Beef Center. He traveled to the Texas major shows and Simmental Junior Nationals and got to meet quite a few of the people he does business with today, including his friend and mentor Jered Shipman. Graham graduated from Texas A&M in December 2013 with an Animal Science degree, and moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma to start marketing cattle with his good friend, Austin Perry. Graham started consulting for a few purebred operations across the country, acted as a sale day consultant for a few purebred Seedstock sales, and instantly became hooked. Fast forward to 2017, Graham and his wife Kasey, along with Jered and his wife, Haley, had the vision to create what is now known across the industry as Innovation AgMarketing, LLC. Graham and Kasey currently reside in Olathe, KS, where Kasey is the Associate Director of Channel Business Capabilities at Merck Animal Health. Living in Kansas has been pivotal for Innovation’s success, as Graham is located within driving distance to several of his customer’s operations and can make several herd visits a year prior to sale day. Graham’s parents, Karl and Gail, have relocated to Kansas recently, and have been able to assist in the day-to-day tasks to keep things running smoothly. It takes a village to keep the business successful, and Graham is very thankful to have the support of Jered’s family, his own family, and several friends who work to make sure that there are no issues on sale day.
INNOVATION AGMARKETING- THE STAGES OF DEVELOPMENTIn the infant stages of development, Innovation AgMarketing, LLC was formed with the visualization of creating a full-service sale management firm that specializes in a broad scope of services that directly benefits a program’s profitability. As a progressive seedstock consultation and marketing firm, unwavering customer service, and a commitment to succeed are the core principles.
Blagg states, “Every program is unique; therefore, every marketing plan should be designed to fit the individual program’s needs in order to elevate their level of success.”
“Our services continue to evolve to best serve our client base. Every relationship is value based and we still believe in the meaning of a handshake and one’s word,” says Blagg.
Innovation AgMarketing has grown over the past three years and now manages 35 live auction sales per year. During the fall sale season, Innovation AgMarketing manages predominately female production sales for some of the Nation’s most respected Simmental, Angus, Red Angus, and multi-breed show heifer operations. “The auction business is the most effective way to market your livestock, true price discovery is the auction way,” states Blagg.
The fall sale season stretches from labor day weekend through the third weekend in December, with sales nearly every weekend in between for Innovation AgMarketing and their talented team. The spring sale season is heavily weighted with bull sales that begin in February and continue through May.
“Bull sale season is based on relationships that are passed down from one generation to the next, it is satisfying to assist our customers in achieving their goals and helping them benefit from their year of hard work and devotion.”
Graham continued by stating, “You work 364 days a year, as a producer you have to make sale day count.”
During the Spring of 2020, Innovation AgMarketing assisted in the marketing of over 1400 bulls from January through May. The bull sales managed by Innovation AgMarketing, LLC include some of the premier seedstock operations in North America. Angus, Simmental, Red Angus, and Charolais are the primary breeds of bulls that sell in bull sales managed by Innovation AgMarketing.
In the Spring of 2021, Innovation AgMarketing will manage over 15 sales and assist in marketing more than 1400 bulls.
“I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work in an industry that I grew up in with so many people that share the same passion for the business,” says Blagg.
THE ADDED VALUE THAT INNOVATION AGRMARKETING OFFERS
“Professional sale management is a convenience-based service that can aid in the success of an operation’s sale event by covering the bases and making sure the minute details are addressed,” says Blagg.
Graham also commented, “I take great pride in the service that the company I represent and those that work alongside me are able to provide to our customers.”
In reality the sale preparation process begins 2 to 3 years before the event is scheduled to take place with breeding decisions and genetic selections. Blagg stresses that “It is important to have a product that is sought after by your customer base, meaning incorporating fresh genetics annually is imperative.”
BID TO BUY...
“There is no better option than the live auction method of merchandizing livestock in my opinion,” stated Blagg. “Selling at auction allows for true price discovery. It is more than just an auction, it is a chance for producers to gather, offer one another hospitality, and learn from others to help one’s own program evolve. A live auction provides excitement and a competitive atmosphere. There is nothing like a fast paced, high energy auction sale!”
Blagg stated “I am a firm believer that the agriculture industry is one of the few communities in this day and age where a handshake and one’s word is all you need to conduct business.” He continued by saying
“Stand behind your product, believe in your product, and if something goes awry for your customer, work with them to make it right, it will pay off in the end. Always do the right thing, you can never buy back your integrity.”
Innovation AgMarketing will begin 2021 with the pinnacle of their sale schedule. “In July of 2019, Christy Collins and I met in Kansas City for lunch. Little did I know that she would be offering the duties of managing the industry’s most exclusive genetic sale, Embryos on Snow.”
In 2020, Innovation AgMarketing, LLC managed the 14th Annual Embryos on Snow™ sale in Denver, Colorado. Blagg states, “It is an honor to continue the tradition that Christy and Jason built from the ground up over the past 13 years. Embryos on Snow™ is looked at as one of the most respected and premier marketing events in the livestock industry.”
With the cancelation of the National Western Stock Show and the formation of the Inaugural Cattlemen’s Congress, the 15th Annual Embryos on Snow sale will be hosted in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on January 8, 2021 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.