BEEF bits

Apr 9, 2010
by WLJ



Checkoff reaches out to chefs

The South Dakota Beef Industry Council recently collaborated with other Midwestern beef councils to ensure that beef had a major presence at the American Culinary Federation central region conference in Indianapolis, IN. Several hundred chefs, culinary educators and industry partners throughout the Midwest attended the four-day event. The midwestern state beef councils sponsored a beef educational workshop and interacted with conference participants during the trade show. The workshop, hosted by Dave Zino, executive chef of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, was titled, Beef: Taste, Flavor and the Power of Umami, allowed participants to taste how different factors, such as the grade of beef, aging and beef production practices, impact the flavor of beef.

Pressure on Japan builds

During his visit to Japan last week, U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack pursued the expansion of beef trade during talks with officials there. Vilsack said during a press conference that the Obama administration will request bilateral trade talks to ease import restrictions which limit U.S. beef imports to products from cattle under 20 months of age, severely restricting the quantity of beef available for shipment to Japan. Japan Agriculture Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu said last week that his country would consider new talks, but had no intention of expanding beef trade until the U.S. meets the safety requirements sought by Japan.

Beef board seats new members

The Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) seated new board members during its orientation meeting April 7, 2010, in Denver, CO. After being appointed by U.S. secretary of agriculture in March, a total of 36 board members—including 31 new members and five existing members who were appointed to a second term—were seated for service on the beef board after taking the oath of office from USDA representative Craig Shackelford during a CBB meeting.

HSUS rating downgraded by agency

Charity Navigator, a rating service of non-profit organizations, has dropped the rating for the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) because the group does not adequately fulfill its stated charitable purpose. According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, HSUS now ranks lower on the Charity Navigator list than People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. HSUS tax filings for 2008 show the group spent less than 1 percent of its collected donations on grants to hands-on pet shelters. The organization solicits donations from Americans who believe their money is helping local pet shelters that house unwanted dogs and cats. Instead, the money is used to fund public information campaigns, state ballot initiatives, and lobbying efforts aimed at ending meat production in the U.S. In addition to the lower rating from Charity Navigator, the American Institute of Philanthropy gives HSUS a “C-minus” overall grade.

California Beef Backer Award contest

The California Beef Council (CBC) has announced nominees for the 2010 California Beef Backer Award. Twenty-one restaurants, some with multiple locations, are in the running for the title of best beef restaurant in the state. Cattle ranchers and farmers are asked to nominate their favorite beef restaurants to participate in the contest. A committee of beef industry leaders will review restaurant entries and base their selection on the restaurants’ beef menu applications, beef promotion programs, and beef sales. The winner and runner-up for the 2010 California Beef Backer Award will be announced this October and will receive cash prizes to use towards future beef purchases. The winning restaurant will also be featured in a public relations campaign coordinated by CBC this fall. For more information about the contest, including a list of nominees, or to obtain a list of past winners of the California Beef Backer Award, visit

New beef ads ready for launch

The new beef checkoff advertising approach, called “Profiles,” which continues to build on the popular “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” tagline and slated to debut in May, focuses consumer attention on specific cuts (e.g., T-bone, top sirloin) and communicates that these cuts not only taste great, but are lean and powerful sources of protein, too. In creating the new theme, the advertising committee reviewed and discussed recent consumer market research, new print concepts and radio spot scripts. The “Profiles” campaign reinforces consumers’ passion for the great taste of beef while awakening their beliefs about beef’s body benefits. Americans have a love affair with beef but traditionally hold back from choosing it because of nutritional concerns. Yet beef provides 10 essential nutrients needed for a healthy, active lifestyle. The campaign delivers against two drivers: the eating experience, and how it fuels the body, drives a consumers’ protein selection.