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June 2009

Have You Herd …

… The popular Stockmanship & Stewardship Tour is an innovative seminar series that uses live cattle demonstrations to inform cattlemen about the importance and benefits of proper cattle handling – and its critical role in increasing consumers’ confidence in beef. The 2009 tour will be held in more than 25 towns in 13 states thanks in part to the generous financial support of beef industry partners and the beef checkoff.

… there are nearly 1 billion hungry people in the world today – about 15 percent of the Earth’s current population of 6.7 billion. By 2050, the population is expected to reach 9.5 billion people, with as many as 3 billion of them malnourished. Producers of beef and all agricultural commodities will be charged with feeding a hungry world, and technology may be the key to long-term food supplies. So notes a white paper by Jeff Simmons, president of Elanco Animal Health. For more, go to “Food Economics and Consumer Choice.” For a Drovers’ article about the white paper, click HERE.

… the entire U.S. agricultural sector contributes just 6 percent to total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions while contributing significantly to a healthy diet. For more about the beef industry and the environment, go to Greenhouse.

… Eight out of 10 households own an outdoor grill or smoker.


Factory Farming? You’ve Heard About It.

A beef checkoff-funded national consumer survey of 1,000 U.S. adults found that 56% of American consumers have heard the term “factory farming” used to describe the way livestock are raised. For those who have heard the term, it creates a negative picture of animal agriculture and creates food safety concerns. Factory farming is an attempt by anti-meat groups and individuals to create a negative picture of livestock production in the consumer’s mind.

The largest group of consumers (69%) associate chicken production with factory farming, but cattle production is second, mentioned by 55 percent of consumers familiar with the term.

Click here for the truth about beef production.


Gearing Up For Summer

The cattle industry comes together twice a year to discuss current issues as a group, to work on programs and initiatives, and to set the course we should take with our various projects for the betterment of the beef cattle industry. The 2009 Cattle Industry Summer Conference is on tap for July 14-18 in Denver, Colo. Groups that hold their meetings as part of the conference include the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the American National CattleWomen, Cattle-Fax, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. All producers are encouraged to attend.


A Cut Above The Rest

An aggressive beef checkoff market response plan put in place in April 2009 aims to help protect beef demand in the meat case and on restaurant menus. As factors such as affordability, value and product versatility became increasingly important, the checkoff rolled out programs such as Beef Alternative Merchandising (BAM) with retailers across the country. As part of the program, instructional videos showcase cutting techniques for the top loin, ribeye and top sirloin.


Raising The Age Limit

 The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has adopted a resolution raising the cattle age limits related to preventing bovine spongiform encephalopathy in international beef trade, according to the Associated Press. Under former OIE standards, beef exports and imports were restricted to boneless beef from cattle younger than 30 months old. The resolution allows exports and imports of boneless beef from cattle of all ages, the AP reported. The move is expected to bolster U.S. efforts to convince Japan to do away with limiting imports of U.S. beef to those from cattle aged 20 months or younger.


U.S. Beef In South Korea

A recent promotion funded in part with beef checkoff dollars featured U.S. short ribs in one of South Korea’s leading barbeque restaurant chains. Sonchugamagoll is particularly well-known for its popular “Galbi” (short rib) menu, and has a very influential presence in the Korean foodservice market. In 2007, it was named Korean Restaurant of the Year by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. To increase interest in U.S. beef, separate consumer giveaways were developed for Sonchugamagoll’s dine-in and takeout menus. For take-out consumers purchasing a 1.8 kg package of short ribs, a package of assorted organic lettuce was included free of charge. For the dine-in menu, any table purchasing a bone-in short rib and a flatiron steak received a complimentary set of organic flower tea. The promotion was offered April 13 through April 30. Despite some lingering concerns in Korea about U.S. beef, the promotion achieved outstanding sales results.

Sales of U.S. beef from the take-out menu increased by 84 percent, and by 77 percent from the table menu over a comparable 17-day period. The total volume of U.S. beef used increased by 136 percent compared to the previous month. “The take-out promotion was especially popular, as the supply of complimentary organic lettuce packs actually ran out before the promotion ended,” said U.S. Meat Export Federation Korea director Jiha Yang. “Songchugamagoll officials were very pleased with the consumer response and the sales results, and they are now much more confident about using U.S. beef.”


Accuracy Matters

USDA’s Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS) is the database of foods used by scientists and government agencies to determine the relationship among foods, nutrients and health. Federally funded nutrition education and food programs are based on information derived from the FNDDS.

FNDDS is based on the nutrient composition data in USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Checkoff-funded efforts are evaluating the beef codes in FNDDS to ensure that appropriate Standard Reference data is being employed. Checkoff-funded nutrition research projects are also under way to update the beef information in USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference to ensure that beef’s nutrients are recorded accurately. These improvements in the federal nutrition databases should enhance beef’s nutrient-rich image among scientists and health professionals. Click here for more information about the 29 cuts of lean beef.


Around The World

Drought conditions around the globe are having an impact on beef and grain-producing nations. Beef production in Argentina and Uruguay has been hit the hardest. But according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, if Argentina elects to restrict beef exports to help control domestic beef prices – as it did in 2008 – the U.S. beef industry could benefit in the long term, pending greater access to the EU market and a resumption of Russian buying power. Any advantage that the U.S. beef industry might realize from a declining global beef supply will likely continue to be offset, at least in the near term, by reduced consumption sparked by the global economic downturn. Click here for more information about checkoff-funded export efforts.


    
  


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