Pair of Beef Boot Camps a Success
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In the highly populated Northeast Corridor of the country, the beef checkoff celebrated Beef Month in May by hosting a pair of Beef Boot Camps to educate retailers and foodservice influencers in the region about beef and the beef industry. The first of those was on May 7 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., followed by a May 15 camp in New Gloucester, Maine for retailers in New England.
Independent retail market owners of the Associated Grocers of New England (AGNE) (pictured) represented Maine and New Hampshire in the May 15 boot camp, with representatives from the Maine and New York beef councils also on hand to help build checkoff relationships with retailers in the region, as well.
Camp began with a morning tour of the Pineland Farms Natural Meats facilities in New Gloucester. Participants toured the Pineland world class dairy, artisan cheese facility, hydroponic greenhouses, expanding vegetable operations and cattle operation. The majority of participants began with little to no understanding of cattle production, so the tour provided them with a broad overview of modern-day farming and ranching in Maine.
Dave Ferrelli, director of meat and seafood for AGNE appreciated learning about the various choices of beef – such as grass-finished, naturally raised and organic – available to consumers: “The consumers don’t know these differences, and we need more people who are able to explain them,’ Ferrelli said. “With proper handling, beef is safe and wholesome, and it is important to remind this to shoppers.’
Following the farm tour, campers headed indoors for an afternoon educational session, during which checkoff speakers presented the recently launched Better Beef Sales retail training tool and taught the retailers about beef and veal promotional opportunities available through checkoff programs.
Paul Bowie of Bow Street Market in Freeport, Maine (pictured, right) performed a cutting demonstration to highlight the checkoff’s Beef Alternative Merchandising (BAM) program, looking specifically at the beef top sirloin and beef ribeye. Participants said they were pleasantly surprised at how versatile these beef subprimals can be when using the BAM cutting method.
For more information about your beef checkoff, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.
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.