Cattle have a long tradition in America. Spanish Longhorn cattle were ﬁrst shipped to the New World at the time of Christopher Columbus’s second voyage across the Atlantic. Over the years, British breeds, such as the English Hereford and the Scottish Aberdeen Angus were added to the U.S. herd. Together these breeds have created an impressive livestock that underpins the strong U.S. beef industry.
For grading purposes and for identification of cattle fitting into breed specific programs, the hide color of each animal is observed by trained personnel. Animals with a predominantly black hide color (> 51 % black) are marked with the letter “A” to designate eligibility into Black Angus grade programs. This process is overseen by the USDA - Agricultural Marketing Service, the government agency responsible for meat grading.