Beef Industry Gets to the Dirt of the Matter on the Farm
Contact: Melissa Sandfort, 402-856-2097; firstname.lastname@example.org
The beef checkoff in partnership with the Nebraska Beef Council recently hosted two sets of “On the Ranch” work days at feedlots and cow/calf operations in western Nebraska. The program brought together industry representatives, veterinarians, producers and influencers who spent time working on the ranch, asking questions and getting their boots dirty in an effort to help them better understand modern cattle production and everyday life on a farm.
Work day participants included a variety of experts across the fields of nutrition, food safety, culinary, environment, animal welfare and food security.
“Events such as these are really designed to bring the city to the farm,” says Richard Gebhart, Oklahoma cattleman, University of Tulsa professor and vice chair of the checkoff's Joint Issues Management Subcommittee. “Our committee, the Nebraska Beef Council Board, and many producers across the country are passionate about sharing our beef production messages with influencers in hopes to connect families to their food. And, it is our hope that outreach efforts like this will be duplicated on more family farms, in more states.”
The two, two-day events further emphasized the industry’s commitment to educating influential audiences who, in turn, communicate about modern beef production to their viewers, shoppers, patients, students and readers. Attendees walked away from the event with a greater appreciation for what farmers and ranchers do, all the while getting firsthand feedback to those questions that have long gone unanswered.
Nebraska cattlemen in particular, through their beef checkoff investment and the Nebraska Beef Council support of these events, were able to accomplish two of their key 2011 priorities: enhance the image of the industry and put the money where the people are.
“Those influencers have the potential to impact thousands, if not millions, of other people to encourage them to eat more beef and learn more about today’s beef producer,” says Gebhart. “The caliber of influencers who attended was top-notch as was the graciousness of the producers who participated. The event brought the communications chain full-circle for the environment we’re operating in today, both on the production side and the consumer side.”
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The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.