Checkoff efforts drive beef industry

by Bryan Salvage
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CENTENNIAL, COLO. — Checkoff-funded beef research, education and innovation (R.E.I.) efforts provide a foundation on which other checkoff communications and marketing programs can be built at a time when many challenges face the beef industry. R.E.I. programs form a link from farm to fork.

Released during the cattle industry conference, the R.E.I. Annual Report offers examples of consumer confidence-building efforts integrated through key areas: Beef quality assurance (B.Q.A.); product enhancement, safety, human nutrition and market research; beef innovations and culinary services.

Several highlights from the study include:

 B.Q.A. — A published, checkoff-funded dairy auction market study helped provide useful information for dairy producers on how to optimize the value of their market cows and bulls — 95% of which go directly to harvest.

 Instrument grading — This tool arrived in 2009, partly due to the $2.5 million in checkoff dollars beef producers invested in bringing the technology to reality.

 Safety research — A research survey quantified the types of pathogen interventions being applied, methods used to validate, sampling procedures and protocols used and the use of industry Best Practices.

 Human nutrition — After several years of checkoff research, a comprehensive resource on the epidemiologic associations of red meat and processed meat and cancer has been published under the title, “Red Meat and Processed Meat Consumption and Cancer…A Technical Summary of the Epidemiologic Evidence.” This 94-page summary concludes “the available epidemiologic evidence is not supportive of a causal relationship between red meat and any of the cancers evaluated.”

 Market research — In 2009, the team completed 40 research projects to help direct nutrition, safety and product strategies to enhance and improve consumer perceptions of beef.

 Beef Innovations Group — The checkoff-funded new chuck roll cuts add an additional $1.4 billion to the industry annually, according to Cattle-Fax.

 Culinary services — To ensure consumers have good experiences, this team conducted between 250 and 300 tests to determine the right cookery methods for chuck-roll cuts.
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