The “Explore Beef Experience”

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Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Building on the success of last year’s event in Nebraska, the beef checkoff, in partnership with the Kansas Beef Council, Nebraska Beef Council, New Mexico Beef Council, and Washington State Beef Commission, recently hosted six “Explore Beef Experience” work days at feedlots and cow/calf operations. The program brought together industry representatives, veterinarians, producers and influencers who spent time working with producers, asking questions and getting their boots dirty in an effort to help them better understand modern cattle production and everyday life on a farm.

Participants included a variety of experts across the fields of nutrition, food safety, culinary, environment, animal welfare and food security.

Photo: Nebraska Beef Council Executive Director Ann Marie Bosshamer visits with a tour guest at Albers Feedlot near Wisner, Neb.

“The impact of these events extends far past just the day on the farm,” says Joe Guthrie, cow/calf producer from Dublin, Va., and chair of the checkoff's Joint Issues Management Subcommittee. “For instance, one attendee is now a panelist at a sustainability summit; attendees from Hyatt hotels invited a producer to attend a meeting with their chefs, helping them see how animal care and beef sustainability fit within Hyatt’s recently announced global food/beverage philosophy.”

Those are just two examples of how the events further emphasize the industry’s commitment to educating influential audiences who, in turn, communicate about modern beef production to their viewers, shoppers, patients, students and readers.

“These events let people ask the tough, burning questions they’ve been wanting to ask for a long time – and they get to ask a real farmer,” says Guthrie. “We’re happy to see that after a great event in Nebraska last year, even more state beef councils are getting involved in hosting events in their areas. This is a great way to bring the farm to the city and impact a lot of people and their perceptions about beef.”

Photo:  Casey Macken of Performance Plus explains the careful nutrition provided to cattle at Loseke Feedyard near Columbus, Neb.

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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.
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