Beef Briefs: July 2010
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Look for Beef Briefs to be delivered the first of each month – your snapshot of beef checkoff news affecting the dairy and beef industries. Editor’s note: please feel free to use these news items as space allows in your publication or online content. If you would like to expand on a certain topic, please e-mail Melissa Slagle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In case you missed it…
Meat Industry Hall of Fame
Dr. Gary Smith, University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University, is an inaugural member of the prestigious Meat Industry Hall of Fame. During his induction, he was described as a man whose “teaching accomplishments are legendary, his research efforts renowned and his personal enthusiasm for the meat business unsurpassed.”
In addition to his long list of honors, Smith has devoted many hours in service to industry associations and companies, including the beef checkoff, for which he repeatedly has served as a speaker during the dairy producer communications forum; and as he made dairy Beef Quality Assurance (DBQA) and Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) a cornerstone of his career by helping industry members produce more consistent quality meat products, improve food safety and increase efficiency and profitability.
Enhancing Demand for U.S. Beef
The mission of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, continues to focus on enhancing the demand for U.S. beef in more than 80 export markets worldwide, which is ever more important considering projected world meat consumption.
For the beef industry, the projected growth internationally is 15 percent during the next 10 years, reports Jim Peterson, chairman of USMEF and a beef producer from Buffalo, Mont. “That equates to three-quarters of the beef currently produced in the United States.
“When you compare that to the projected domestic growth of between 5 and 7 percent, that shows what tremendous opportunities are there for exports,” the USMEF chairman adds.
Nebraska Beef, Corn Producers Help Showcase U.S. Beef in Taipei
To create more opportunities for U.S. beef in Taiwan’s foodservice sector, USMEF collaborated with the Ambassador Hotel for the “Nebraska Beef Gourmet Festival,” held June 3 in Taipei. The event, made possible, in part, through checkoff support from the Nebraska Beef Council, as well as the Nebraska Corn Board, featured a diverse range of items showcasing the quality and versatility of U.S. beef. A team of chefs from Western-style and Chinese restaurants prepared more than 20 mouth-watering dishes using tenderloin, strip loin, ribeye, rib fingers, chuck eye roll, heel muscle and bone-in short ribs.
With representatives from more than 25 news outlets participating, the program began with a video outlining the storied history of Nebraska’s corn-fed beef industry, including footage of the farmers, ranchers and cattle feeders who work together to produce some of the world’s finest beef cuts. Two famous television hosts from one of Taiwan’s most popular gourmet shows also participated in the opening presentation, which contributed to the strong media interest.
Interest also was bolstered by a unique consumer contest, which will run through June 30. Consumers have an opportunity to win a free night of accommodation in one of the Ambassador Hotel’s luxury rooms. Contestants shoot a three-minute video in which they identify their favorite U.S. beef dish and explain the reasons behind their choice. Then they upload the video to YouTube and place the link on the Ambassador Hotel’s Facebook page. The hotel will calculate the total number of hits each video gets, which will be one of the criteria used to select the winner.
U.S. beef exports to Taiwan have set new value records in each of the last five years, and economists say this trend is likely to continue. During the first four months of 2010, exports to Taiwan totaled 11,533 metric tons (25.4 million pounds) valued at more than $60 million. This is an increase of 69 percent in volume and 79 percent in value over January-April 2009. Click here to learn more about checkoff-funded foreign marketing efforts.
Agriculture Good For Environment, Study Says
Advances in high-yield agriculture during the latter part of the 20th century prevented massive amounts of greenhouse gases– the equivalent of 590 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide – from entering the atmosphere. That’s the conclusion of a team of Stanford University scientists attempting to clarify the effects of agriculture on the environment.
“Our results dispel the notion that modern intensive agriculture is inherently worse for the environment than a more ‘old-fashioned’ way of doing things,” said Jennifer Burney, lead author of a paper about the Stanford study that will be published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Yield intensification has lessened the pressure to clear land and reduced emissions by up to 13 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year.
For more about the research and conclusions, go to “Greenhouse Gas Mitigation.”
Dietary Guidelines Address Beef Nutrition
Eating lean beef as part of a balanced diet and being physically active can be part of the solution to maintaining a healthy weight, according to the recently released Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.
“The scientific evidence to support the role of lean beef in a healthy, balanced diet is strong,” says Shalene McNeill, Ph.D., R.D., executive director of human nutrition research at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) – a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.
On June 15, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) opened the Advisory Report for a 30-day public comment period, after which they will use the report and those comments to create the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In addition, they are hosting a July 8 public meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss the report.
“The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee addressed overweight and obesity as the most pressing public health concern facing Americans today,” McNeill says. “This makes it even more important that we get more nutrition out of each calorie we consume. Choosing lean beef as a source of high-quality protein is actually a calorie-saver.”
For a full report, go to Advisory Report.
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.