By Joel Penhorwood
The Ohio-based Certified Angus Beef brand known around the world has spent the past year celebrating 40 years of existence by painting their famous logo on 40 barns across the country.
“We feel extremely fortunate to be able to celebrate 40 years. That’s a real milestone for this brand and production agriculture as well, and definitely the Angus breed,” said John Stika, president of Certified Angus Beef. “It means 40 years of providing consumers with the high quality product, both here in Ohio as well as around the world. And we’re here today on the exact date 40 years later that the brand sold its first pound as Renzetti’s IGA in Columbus, Ohio.”
Stika made the comments after he put the finishing touches on the final mural of the 40-barn campaign in which artist Troy Freeman crisscrossed the country to paint a diverse range of buildings from brand new metal structures to old wooden barns.
The CAB brand, now a worldwide marketing stronghold, continues to maintain roots in Ohio.
“When you share with folks that we’re located in Wooster, Ohio, they kind of look at you and they thought we would be located out maybe farther west, maybe in Big Sky country or ranching country, perhaps. The idea for Certified Angus Beef started right here in, honestly, Marshallville, Ohio,” Stika said. “An angus breeder and businessman by the name of Harold Etling had the idea to create this brand that could create demand for angus cattle. He shared that with other entrepreneurs in Ohio and the ideas started right here in the minds of angus breeders in this state. Then they hired a guy by the name of Mick Colvin who lived in West Salem and he took the idea and made it a reality. The first pound was sold in Columbus. Our roots in Ohio agriculture and in the Ohio Angus Association run extremely deep. It’s pretty interesting. While we celebrate 40 years in existence, the Ohio Angus Association celebrates its hundredth anniversary here at the same time. “
Certified Angus Beef has become much more than just a name, turning out impressive marketing results.
“We are celebrating here in our 40th year, our 14th consecutive year of growth, our 12th record sales year in a row, and for the last three years we’ve sold over a billion pounds of Certified Angus Beef worldwide,” Stika said. “The brand is sold in every state in the United States, but we also sell into 52 other countries around the world. So, this brand that started right here in Ohio has a global reach and is providing products to consumers that love great tenderness, flavor, and juiciness in the products, in the beef products, that they feed their families.”
Though the final of the 40 painted barns can be found at the Atterholt Farm outside of Loudonville, others with the same image can be found all across the United States. The nationwide project started this past spring.
“We’ve painted barns in Florida to the Pacific Northwest and Montana from California clear into Pennsylvania and parts of New England,” Stika said. “So, we tried to scatter them around the country, because those angus breeders that support this brand, that produce the genetics, that produce that quality product, they’re scattered from one end of this county to the other. And this brand represents each and every one of them.“
The ceremony commemorating the 40th barn painting garnered a large crowd of Certified Angus Beef employees, supporters, and community members cheering its completion, and enjoying beef prepared by world-class chefs on staff. Former Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels, at the time still in his position, presented proclamations from the Governor Kasich’s office recognizing CAB’s history. Also guiding the final paintbrush strokes was barn painter Troy Freeman of Free Sky studios, who has stayed busy with the project this past year.
“You pick a location and I could tell you,” he said. “Every barn’s been different. I’ve got memories from every location, every family, every barn. Everywhere. It’s beautiful.”
Freeman said the painting process is also a little different in every situation.
“It’s a three-day process. I kind of blow into town and get out the night before and I get the drawing of the basic logo put up the night before and then I do all my base painting and any of the prep work. Metal barns take a lot of prep work, just to get that surface ready to be painted. Then I get all my base paint done and then I come out the next day to spray the gradient to get that nice and smooth and then I hand paint everything else. Hopefully it turns out nice,” Freeman said. “It has 40 times in a row so we’re good to go.”