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Category Archives: Beef Promotion

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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Tweeting Tips from Mal the Beef Gal

There is so much to say and only 140 characters in which to say so on Twitter. How did Shakespeare put it? To Tweet or not to Tweet. That is the question. Or something very close to that, right? Today, I’d like to put a little pep in your step when it comes to Twitter so that we can continue to share our beef stories with consumers and our cattle community friends alike!

Malorie Bankhead 1My name is Malorie Bankhead, and I come to you over the blogosphere from California. I just recently graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Agricultural Communication in June, and I am also a past National Beef Ambassador. I first created my social media penname Mal the Beef Gal when I created my Twitter account in 2010 as a member of the National Beef Ambassador Team. One of our tasks as a National Beef Ambassador was to share the beef story over social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. I had previous experience in Facebook and YouTube, but Twitter made me a little nervous. To ease the beginner’s pain for you, or to help you become more engaged in the Twitterverse, I have created checklist that will help you conquer Twitter one character, hashtag, and tweet at a time.

About a month ago I was given the opportunity to serve as an intern for the American National CattleWomen in Denver at the Cattle Industry Summer Conference. One of my duties at the conference was to facilitate the Advocacy/Your Beef Story workshop and lead the Twitter portion of the workshop. First, we learned various myth-busting facts to present to consumers with questions about how beef is raised and how healthy it is for us to eat from Dr. Jude Capper. I followed up with ways to relay the messages we learned and other great beef story tidbits on Twitter. Here are a few tips to getting started and keeping your Twitter profile fueled to share your beef story.

  1. If you are new to Twitter and want to join, follow the advice of a very popular shoe company:  Just do it! Visit www.twitter.com, enter your name, email, and newly created password, and click the yellow “Sign up for Twitter” button. Then follow the prompts Twitter will give you to set up your profile. You will be able to select a profile picture (it is very important not to skip this step so that fellow Tweeters can put a face to your name), choose several people to follow on Twitter (this means you will be able to view their Tweets. They have to follow you in order to see yours), set your privacy settings, and create your first tweet!
  2. Let’s define some Twitter vocab. Here is some popular jargon you may hear used for Twitter. Hopefully these will help you!

Twitter:  The name of the social media network which allows you to post 140 characters in your message.

Tweet:  The 140 character message you produce on Twitter.

Follow:  You may follow someone in order to receive their tweets in your live feed.

Follower:  Someone who follows you on Twitter and receives your tweets in their live feed.

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 11.28.49 AMHashtag:  A group of characters following the pound sign. Hashtags are a type of conversation markers. For example, if you include the #beef hashtag in one of your tweets, your tweet is grouped with all of the other tweets with #beef in them. Another example of a hashtag that is not necessarily a real word is #CISC13 which stands for Cattle Industry Summer Conference 2013. Sometimes conferences or other events come up with their own hashtag to group together all the tweets with the hashtag in them. You can enter any hashtag you want in the search bar of Twitter, and you will be directed to a feed of those hashtags.

Retweet:  You can retweet a tweet that someone has already posted. If you want your followers to be able to read the tweet, you can click the symbol that looks like two continuous arrows in a square underneath the tweet, and it will show up in your followers’ live feed.

Favorite:  You can click the star underneath a tweet to favorite it, which is the equivalent of liking a post on Facebook. Twitter will notify the author of the tweet that you favorited their tweet. It’s kind of like giving a thumbs up or your stamp of approval on a tweet.

Reply:  This is the arrow pointing left underneath the tweet, which will automatically tag the person who wrote the tweet you want to reply to. Twitter will also keep your tweets together in a conversation. You can click the talk bubble that says ‘view conversation’ to see your responses to each other.

Chats:  The cool thing about hashtags is that you can use them in Twitter chats. One kind of chat that I have participated in before is the #agchat. There is usually a host or a moderator to the chat who is responsible for tweeting the questions for the chat. Since it is so fast paced I use www.twubs.com to participate in the chat. This is a website that shows only the tweets with the chat hashtag in them and makes it easier to follow along and participate. Ag Chats are every Tuesday evening from 5-8 p.m. ET. Join in to see what it’s all about. You may choose just to view the chat your first time, but participating is highly encouraged!

3. If you want to share an article or a link you have found in a tweet, the normal URL will take up too many of your 140 character space. I utilize www.tinyurl.com to fix this problem. You can copy and paste the long URL into the box that says “make tinyURL”, and it will create a shorter link for you that you can copy and paste into your tweet to save room. You can find great links to share your beef story on www.factsaboutbeef.com and www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com.

And before it gets too confusing, I’ll pause for now. The point of this post is to intrigue you, not to overwhelm you, so I hope I have provided some sort of inspiration to you to jump into Twitter with both feet! For more encouragement I will share with you my Twitter secret: it took me nearly a year and a half to become a regular Twitter user. But when I made the commitment to share my beef story on Twitter the motto “practice makes perfect” helped a lot! I first made a plan to tweet three times a week, and then gradually increased my tweeting to multiple times a day. Now I’m a Twitter regular, and you can be too!

So, how can you put your new Twitter knowledge to good use? Dive in, and try it out! The best way to learn, I find, is to explore. Get comfortable with Twitter by clicking on new tabs and seeing what is available to you. What questions do you have about Twitter? Please leave them in the comments section of this blog!

Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter, if you’d like, @malthebeefgal. See you in the Twitterverse!

Sin-steer-ly,

Mal the Beef Gal

 

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BEEF, Great for the Heart… and the Soul

BY ELIZABETH BURNS-THOMPSON, YPC Member

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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The Little Opportunities

BY ZEKE McCARTY, YPC Leadership Board

I recall an instance when I was grocery shopping with a good friend of mine about a year ago. We were walking through the beef section of the meat department at our local King Soopers, checking prices and cuts just to see if anything stood out as a “must have” at the moment.

InteractiveMeatCaseAs we were browsing, we hear a man behind us ask the meat department employee a question. He held up two different packages of beef and asked, “Which is better: Angus or Choice?” The employee quickly piped up stating, “Angus is better.” As soon as my friend heard her answer, he couldn’t help but intervene in the conversation to make sure the consumer was quickly educated on the facts of what exactly Angus beef was and how that compared/related to USDA Choice beef. It was a textbook maneuver if I had ever seen one. He politely introduced himself into the conversation, provided his credentials in order to be viewed as a reliable source, and explained the facts.

As I reflected on the occurrence, I thought: “What would have happened if my friend had not said anything?” That consumer would have been “educated” by the meat department “specialist” when in reality, it was simply her opinion. That consumer would have gone along, for potentially his entire life, without knowing the basic facts regarding Angus beef and Choice beef. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to discount Angus beef by any means. I just believe in the principle of allowing someone to make their own opinion after they’ve been provided the facts. But not only that, think about the number of people this one consumer could influence throughout his lifetime with the information he was provided by simply word of mouth.

PrintA few weeks ago, at the same King Soopers’ beef section, an almost identical situation arose. I happened to overhear a man ask a meat department employee (different employee) what the difference was between Angus and Choice beef. At least this employee didn’t take it upon himself to offer his opinions as facts which I give him credit for. He simply told the man, “I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference.” I knew at that moment, it was up to me to step up and provide a little education, which I did. As I reflected again, I couldn’t help but imagine how many times a day that must happen. How many consumers look to these “experts” in their field of customer service and are provided with wrong or no information at all?

Now, my purpose isn’t to degrade my local King Soopers or ridicule the meat department employees by any means. I still continue to shop there and still continue to interact with the people. My purpose is simply to challenge you as I have myself. Be aware and take advantage of the little opportunities that arise where you can provide some insight and knowledge concerning our industry. If we want our industry to strive, we must do our part to provide and promote the truth and facts in a misinformed, consumer driven world.

Editor’s note: If you would like to know more about beef cuts and grades, check out the Interactive Meat Counter for more information and ways you can save at the store. Images and information provided by the Beef Checkoff. Beef It’s What’s For Dinner. 

 

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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?”

“Hmm..at 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,

Miranda

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 www.blackinkwithcab.com.

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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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!

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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, examiner.com, 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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