Beef Producers Talk About the Checkoff

Dan Kniffen, Pennsylvania

Dan KniffenDan Kniffen and his family have been Hereford breeders since 1951 and have owned the Windy Butte Ranch near Spring Mills, Pennsylvania, since 2001. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science at Penn State University.

Dan has served in a leadership role for the national Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Advisory Group for many years, so he understands the importance of the National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA). “The NBQA is the only national effort focused on improving beef quality at every level of production,” he says. “Millions of data points are collected about genetics, feeding, handling and beef processing. This gives us the facts and figures we need to talk to our consumers about the quality of beef.”

“As someone who personally invests in the Beef Checkoff Program, I think it’s something that we need to continue to document as an industry. If we don’t keep setting benchmarks and objectives as we move forward, then it’s possible we are going to start moving in the wrong direction,” says Dan.

Watch DanClick here for the full video from Dan’s ranch.



Steven Mafrige, Texas

Steven Mafrige Producers TalkSteven Mafrige, fourth generation beef producer at Y Bar Ranch near Tilden, Texas, manages a cow-calf operation with F1 Braford cows and a Brahman herd. As with many cattle producers, his farm is home to different enterprises:  he runs yearlings, has a guided hunting operation, grows perennial warm season grass seed, has gravel pits, sells water, runs a trucking company and has honeybees.

Through the guided hunts, Mafrige is able to introduce individuals and corporate groups to the beef world. As he says, “We try to keep it all tied into the ranching operation.”

Mafrige is optimistic about the beef industry, but also knows the importance of safeguarding beef’s image. “We’re proud of the product we produce and the work we do, but when I’m out on the ranch, it’s hard to respond to inaccurate information about beef and beef production that makes its way into social media and the news. But what makes it easier for me to sleep at night is knowing that our checkoff is responding directly to consumers, mainstream media and others with easy-to-understand, fact-based information that sets the record straight.”

Watch StevenClick here for the full video from Steven’s ranch.



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