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It's Time to Speak Out

Written by Dennis Sun

During the early December Range Beef Cow Symposium in Casper the word was out: raising beef is not bad, nor is beef bad to be on everyone’s dinner plate, and it is a safe food for you and your family.
If you’ve read it in Time Magazine, or seen news programs about beef being unsafe or not healthy for you, disregard it as an untruth, or whatever word you want to use. It’s not true, and the proof is out there.  
It is true that I am giving you information that came out of a cattle industry symposium, but numerous speakers told the same story and documented the proof. Among the elite these days it’s not politically correct to eat red meat and promote it. We’re all supposed to go vegetarian, at least on Monday. It’s the latest fad and we all have to fight it.
The biggest problem is that beef is easy to pick on. There are numerous people in the health industry and in journalism that take pride in bashing beef. That one video of the downer milk cow really did the damage a few years back, as it put a bad picture in the public’s mind and one they don’t want to forget.
I’m not sure we can win the information battle alone. Studies have shown that during prosperous times, and also during the bad economic times, the consumer wants a convenient product to prepare in the evening. It has been proven that as more women in households work, chicken and pork consumption rises along with fast food like McDonald’s. The consumer knows that it’s not better for them, but the convenience they’re buying is the number one reason for their choice. They are just going to have to develop more beef products that fit the bill of convenience. There are some good products out there and we need to really promote them through the Checkoff.
The good part for beef producers is that the American public likes a beef product finished on corn. Australia, Brazil and, to some extent, Argentina can’t produce that product, but their consumers are used to grass fed and like it. Only in Canada and America can we produce that product economically for the consumer.
Sadly the feedlot industry hasn’t been a part of that lately. We now have the same numbers of cattle as in the 1950’s, but our end product is larger. In the 50’s or 60’s a hanging cow carcass weighed around 640 pounds, now it’s around 850 pounds. We’re producing the same amount of meat with less cows, and the same goes for milk and milk cows. Some say we’re putting ourselves out of business.
Thanks to our Checkoffs we can brag on new cuts of beef coming from the chuck like the flat iron and sierra. These small steaks and others coming from the chuck and other parts of the carcass have been identified as muscles that can be processed and cooked in less time and fit the bill of convienience.
These are is exciting times, and here in the West it is still an honor to buy your friend a steak.    
Dennis