Category Archives: Beef Advocacy

CMT Encourages Followers to Go Meat-Free For a Day

By: Sarah Ryan, YPC Leadership Board

I was perusing my news feed on Facebook this morning (Oct.1) and came across this message from Advocates for Agriculture: “CMT started off today with an insulting tweet, asking people if they can go meat-free today for World Vegetarian Day. They may play country music but they obviously don’t understand much of anything about what happens out in the country.”

Time for an admission, I haven’t joined Twitter.  But, I did follow the link provided by Advocates for Agriculture to CMT’s tweet  and was impressed by how quickly the meat raising agriculture community started to tweet back.  Among the tweets was a call to boycott CMT.  Can’t say I disagree… but I’d have to start watching so I could quit.

I am most impressed by the constant message that 1. CMT should be supportive of ranching families and eating meat and 2. constant positive messaging that eating meat is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.  Obviously this exemplifies again that programs like MBA are working!  I’m really proud that agriculture has come so far (joining social media, etc.) and is ready with positive messages to promote our way of life.

Finally, I’m disappointed that companies, like CMT, have decided to promote one lifestyle choice over another.  As one person tweeted, (in my words) wouldn’t CMT’s tweet have been better spent talking about today as the start of pink month and awareness than promoting a meat-free diet…

How do you react to these types of messages?  Do you boycott any company that promotes meat-free days, especially meatless Mondays?


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BEEF, Great for the Heart… and the Soul


We know that lean beef is part of a heart-healthy diet, but the benefits of this “power protein” go far beyond the dinner plate.

This year the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association celebrated the 31st annual Governor’s Charity Steer Show at the Iowa State Fair. The show has become a long-standing tradition at the fair, and is the result of months of hard-work and collaboration between  industry sponsors that purchase the steers, the youth that raise them, and the local celebrities that volunteer their time to participate in the event.

Ronald McDonald and Craig Hill, the president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, with the Grand Champion Steer.

Ronald McDonald, IFBF president, Craig Hill, and Shanee Tate with her Grand Champion steer.

Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, and many other celebrities from across the state lead the 25 steers around the ring, vying for the championship ribbon and showmanship award. Following the show, the steers were auctioned off with the proceeds from each sale going to charity. Since its inception back in 1983, the show has raised more than $2 million for the Ronald McDonald Houses of Iowa, which provides a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children being treated in near-by hospitals.

This year’s Grand Champion steer, “Farm Bureau Pride,” was raised by Shanee Tate from Renwick, Iowa. The steer was sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and shown by IFBF President, Craig Hill. Following the close of the auction, a record-breaking $185,339 had been raised, which will be divided amongst the three Ronald McDonald Houses in the state. The Governor’s Charity Steer Show is just another great demonstration of agriculture’s continued support for Iowa families.

About the author: Elizabeth is a third-year student at Drake Law School, working on her Juris Doctorate specializing in Agricultural Law, and is a member of the Iowa Beef Advocate Network . She was born and raised on a small family farm in eastern Iowa, and holds a B.S. in Agricultural Business and International Agriculture from Iowa State University.


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Marbling matters to me, to you and all of us

By MIRANDA REIMAN, assistant director of industry information for Certified Angus Beef LLC

During my first pregnancy as my doctor set out to prescribe prenatal vitamins, he tried to survey the amount of iron I get naturally in my diet.

PRIME“How often do you eat red meat?”

“ least two times a day,” I replied.

“You mean twice a week, right?’

“No. Usually two times a day.”

The facial expression that followed leads me to believe that he was either jealous or he’d never heard that response before. (Truth told, it was probably both!

Growing up in the ag community and now working for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, I know I’m not “the average consumer.” So when I want to know what the average consumer wants, I look to some good, unbiased research.

Me & my beef eatersSo here are some things I’ve picked up from the experts:

  • Meat scientist Mark Miller and his team at Texas Tech recently did a study with beef strips: “We’ve found that marbling level has a really big impact on the consumer’s desire for beef. Tenderness is by far the most important factor, but once a steak meets a consumer’s threshold for tenderness, then flavor becomes the sole driver.” Surveys reveal more than 91% of the beef in today’s retail case meets tenderness expectations.
  • The National Beef Quality Audit, conducted every five years, sent a clear signal again in its most recent results: Target-consumer consensus suggested an ideal mix of 5% Prime and 31% Premium Choice. Actual production levels for all beef in those categories during 2011 was 2% and 20%, 14 points short of expectations. “If producers get the right signal, and they are pretty good managers, they can hit the target,” said Keith Belk, Colorado State University meat scientist. “But they have to have the right signal.”
  • To that point, we often say that consumers vote with their wallet. Economist Ted Schroeder is a beef demand guru and he agrees. “Beef demand woes historically have surrounded quality issues with beef products. We needed to start offering customers a more predictable eating experience or we were going to see continually declining demand. Higher quality and branded products do that or they don’t last. If they don’t deliver consistently they’re out of the game.” Schroeder and his team came up with a CAB demand index and subsequent update to help quantify that.
  • Beef is expensive, especially compared to pork and poultry. That underscores the need for marbling. “As prices rise, consumers become more discriminating with regard to meat spending. Marbling and its beneficial impact on taste becomes increasingly important. Higher levels of marbling help to buoy beef’s value proposition as consumers are asked to spend more for it,” says our very own John Stika, CAB president.

2013_06_04_mr_Vermilion Ranch-61The bottom line? Marbling matters, certainly to us at CAB, but also to you. It matters to your neighbors and to that consumer in New York City. It matters to anyone who wants to continue to grow the U.S. beef industry and believes in its future. Give it the credit it deserves.

May your bottom line be filled with black ink,


PS-To keep up on this kind of information and to see what we’re up to on the cattle production side of the business, check out the CAB Supply Development team’s blog at

Miranda Reiman, assistant director of industry information for Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB), says agriculture communications is not only her career, but a passion. That was cultivated growing up on a grain and livestock farm in southern Minnesota, where she was active in 4-H and industry organizations.

She received an agriculture journalism degree, with an animal science minor, from South Dakota State University where she freelanced her way through college.

Reiman currently works out of a home office at Cozad, Neb. She writes articles for print, radio and web outlets to help commercial Angus producers and feedlot partners make connections and add value to their cattle. She also directs their producer efforts in social media and coordinates the industry information internship program.

Reiman, and her husband, Mark, have three little beefeaters of their own, with one more on the way. 




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State affiliate meetings provide excellent opportunities for young producers

BY SARAH RYAN, YPC Leadership Board

996830_10152955590760597_973350577_nDuring the summer, many state affiliates of NCBA will hold their bi-annual meeting. For young individuals in the beef industry these meetings provide many opportunities to get involved and learn. For example, you can participate in networking, policy discussions, classes/tutorials, tours, and the sharing of new ideas with others in the beef industry.

Last week I attended the Idaho Cattlemen’s Association mid-year meeting.  While there, I had the chance to interact and learn from the 250 attendees of all ages from around the state and from neighboring states. This experience just reinforced how valuable state affiliate meetings can be.

I’ve found that being able to network with different individuals can be extremely valuable for helping as I interact folks in the business.  Not only that, but networking and sharing of ideas go hand-in-hand. As a young producer you may know of new technologies that can help another individual, while others have years of experience to share with you.

Along with networking, the sessions can also be a great way to learn about something new. While it wasn’t the most popular event of the meeting—there was golf at the same time—I thought the rangeland monitoring class was very educational.  It gave us the chance to meet new people, tour land we didn’t know, as well as learn how the rancher uses and monitors his rangeland.  Not only did he offer insight into rangeland monitoring, but some of the people in the class had been monitoring their rangelands for 4 generations.

You’ve probably heard you can’t improve what you don’t measure.  Well, rangeland monitoring is a great way to improve your use of the land.  Plus, it tells a great story about the importance of livestock in keeping a thriving plant community.  As a young producer attending these workshops is important for understanding what it could take to participate in a viable beef industry for many years.

582399_10152395188690597_605326651_nAnother session at the meetings was spent discussing new and recurring policies.  One trick I learned when it comes to analyzing policy is to consider if it “is this something that will help, hurt or have no impact on the long-term viability of the cattle industry.”  If a policy doesn’t help the long-term beef industry, there may be words or phrases you could add to the policy to help it have more of an impact.  As young producers, we should be striving for policies that preserve the industry for many years. Look for solutions not just patches to existing problems.

For the reasons I’ve listed above, and many more I hope you take time this summer to attend your state’s summer meeting.  Enjoy the opportunity to learn and participate in creating a plan that keeps the beef industry going for many generations.  And try to talk to as many new people as possible – networking is an excellent way to learn new things.

Finally, I hope to see you at the NCBA summer meetings in Denver, August 7-9, specifically at the YPC discussions – networking with other young producers is critical!  When you come, bring ideas and policies you’ve heard discussed at a state level to share with the group. You never know what you might learn.


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Beef Ambassador: Montana’s Allie Nelson

BY ALLIE NELSON, Montana Beef Ambassador

1015724_672906549402851_1594969279_oMy name is Allie Nelson and I come from small town southeast of Great Falls, Montana. Right now, I serve as the Montana Beef Ambassador and I am honored to have this title. I have been showing cattle for about seven years and the beef industry is my passion. The person who inspired me to be involved with agriculture and the community was definitely my grandpa. My “Nana” and “Papa” owned one of the largest Hereford ranches in North Dakota. Papa inspired me to do what I love, and to do it well…especially if it involves the beef industry!
As the Montana Beef Ambassador, I don’t necessarily have a specific job. My personal goal as the ambassador is to be available to consumers to answer their questions and correct any misinformation they might have about beef and ranching. If we are going to make a difference in education, it is very important we are were the consumers are…therefore, I have been trying to have an appearance at state events like fairs and speak to elementary students in their classrooms.
935257_561144397241335_1353883232_nI am lucky to have Elizabeth Armstrong, the junior Montana Beef Ambassador, on my team as well. She and I have given talks at to two schools about beef byproducts, attended the Montana Cattlewomen meeting, and have had a delegation meeting with a group of folks from Khasakstan who came to America to discover agriculture in our communities. We have quite a busy summer planned with attending a Montana Farmer’s Union Camp, speaking at multiple fairs, and attending various events and activities.
I am so thrilled to be serving as the Montana Beef Ambassador! I will head to Springdale, Arkansas for an opportunity to obtain a National office as a National Beef Ambassador later this year. We are selling t-shirts to raise funds to make it to Springdale. If you would like one, please check out the Montana Beef Ambassador facebook page for more information and pictures!


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Fluffy Cows are the Beauty Queens of Beef Production

Surely you’ve heard about fluffy cows by now, right? If not, you are missing out and need to check out that link.

If you have heard, then you’re also probably aware of the mixed emotions and opinions about the internet sensation. The following post is the opinion of one of our YPC Leadership Board members and is not representative of the opinion of anyone else, NCBA or YPC. If you have an opinion on this topic, please feel free to comment below or write a post and send it to us!


By: Margaret Ann Smith

While volunteering at a 4H Livestock event two weeks ago, I received a text message imploring me to check out this video on Yahoo News. In a lull in activity, I took a moment to watch and actually laughed out loud.  It was the fluffy cow sensation. 

The fluffy cow phenomenon has made major news network blogs such as ABC News and NBC’s Today Show.  They have also appeared on the radar of Huffington Post, Perez Hilton,, and Yahoo News.  Is this a true representation of the livestock industry?

I had the opportunity to judge a local beauty queen pageant several years ago as a favor to a friend (understand that I have NO background in this area). I was shocked; these were not true representations of young girls but rather little doll-like girls with big hair, fake eyelashes and flippers (fyi- flippers are fake teeth for young girls that have not grown their adult teeth yet).  A 6 year old with a full set of pearly whites is a little disturbing!  While they were great at presentation, knew exactly how to speak and when/what to say, there was no depth to their answers as they were really just little girls.

The fluffy cows are somewhat similar: they are the beauty queens of the beef industry.  While they are cute and adorable, they are not connected with the real world of beef production.  The fluffy cows have hair care bills that could rival that of any diva (super-duper hair spray), they spend significant time under fans (hair dryers), and they are washed twice a day to be primped and preened. Just like a beauty queen, presentation is everything here.

Being a fluffy cow or beauty queen are great opportunities for some, but not all.  The rest of the world operates on what is practical and realistic. So remember that the fluffy cow is not reality…he or she is only getting ready for a pageant.


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Involve, Prepare, Educate: The Beef Industry Issues Course at Texas Tech University


While on faculty at South Dakota State University, I was tasked with developing a “Beef Industry Center of Excellence”, a concept derived to engage students seeking careers in the beef industry. I have taken many of the underlying principles of the Beef Industry Center of Excellence to develop a course in beef industry issues at Texas Tech University.

The beef industry of the future promises opportunity for those who seek it. Along with these opportunities are challenges to navigate as the industry faces changes in environmental, welfare and global trade issues, along with high production costs and competition for resources. The innovative Beef Industry Leaders Course through the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at Texas Tech University aims to prepare students for those opportunities and challenges.

Whether a student is pursuing a career in the beef industry or plans to carry on the legacy of a family farm or ranch operation, the Beef Industry Leaders Course is designed to help individuals gain the communication, critical thinking and networking skills to enable them to be successful in their future beef industry endeavors. Throughout this process, students will be trained to become advocates for animal agriculture.

Beef Issues_Presentation

Major objectives of the class are to expose students firsthand to issues facing the industry, to facilitate interaction with industry leaders, and to share the message of the beef industry with other audiences. Many of the issues that the industry faces are a result of consumer misinformation and lack of education; students in the class learn the facts about the issues and learn how to speak to non-agriculture audiences regarding these topics.

Engaging students with industry affiliates and leaders is achieved by taking the class to NCBA and Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers conventions. These opportunities are pivotal in providing students with firsthand perspectives of the roles that NCBA and state affiliates play in the industry as well as provide tremendous networking experiences. In addition to the networking that students are able to do while walking through the tradeshow at NCBA, meetings with industry affiliates are also set-up, in an effort to further the opportunities for interaction. Students agree that this is one of the most impactful aspects of the class.

To culminate the semester, in conjunction with Agriculture Awareness Week, students make a presentation to the College of Agriculture Sciences and Natural Resources to advocate the beef industry. It is the goal that in future years, this presentation will expand to a broader audience.

Past students have indicated that: “The Beef Industry Issues Class offered us a truly unique experience to meet industry leaders, travel to conventions and to educate others about the current happenings in the beef industry. These opportunities would not have been available to me without this class and I thoroughly enjoyed the class” Tressa Lawrance, Senior in Agriculture Communications and Education from Buffalo, WY. Nellie Hill, a graduate student in Agriculture Communications also reflected on the class: “The class brought together many different perspectives on the beef cattle industry, allowing the content to create dynamic discussion about key issues. As an agriculture communications major, I enjoyed the opportunity to work with people outside of my department and share what we learned throughout the class through our presentation to the college.”

Throughout the semester, teamwork, critical thinking and communication skills are fostered among students in the course. Moreover, by attending state and national beef industry events, students are exposed firsthand to issues facing the industry – many of which are addressed throughout the course. Most importantly, the course aims to aid students in developing leadership skills and a network of personal connections with industry leaders, giving them resources to utilize as they return to a family farm or ranch or pursue careers within the beef industry – and inspiring them to support and serve in industry organizations in the future.


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