The Beef Checkoff Program selected three student filmmakers to receive funding to produce 20-minute documentaries on various aspects of US farming and ranching to inspire awareness and encourage all consumers to take charge of their food choices. This enables viewers to explore the beef production process along with the student, none of whom were raised with close ties to agriculture or the food industry.
Filmmakers include Michael DeTerra, a senior at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.; Katie Griffith, a recent graduate of West Virginia University in Morgantown, W. Va.; and Kevin Smith, a graduate student at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. DeTerra’s video examines animal welfare and how it has evolved over the past 30 years; Griffith’s video explores families who work in beef production and their motivations for doing so; and Smith’s video discusses the environmental impact of beef farming and ranching.
“To give viewers a holistic and objective view, the student filmmakers interviewed more than 30 beef farmers, ranchers and experts in 10 different states,” said Daryl Berlier-Owen, cow-calf producer from Amarillo, Texas, and chair of the industry’s Public Opinion & Issues Management Group. “The films were commissioned with the hope that farmers and ranchers could be afforded the opportunity to tell their story. And, the program was purposely created to spark the interest of younger filmmakers in order to allow them to craft a story that objectively represents modern beef production and the components involved.”
The videos can be viewed on ExploreBeef.org and will be screened at a series of industry and consumer education events across the country.