Beef Farmers Are Socially Responsible

Beef Farmers Are Socially Responsible

Cattlemen's Stewardship Review comes at a critical point, as more people are becoming disconnected from agriculture and food production, yet there is an increasing interest in knowing more about who produces food, says Iowa Beef Industry Council leader and cattle producer Elaine Utesch.

Cattlemen across the country are pleased to announce the release of "The Cattlemen's Stewardship Review: Connecting Our Vision and Values," a first-of-its-kind inside look at cattlemen's influence on the nation's communities, the economy, public health and the environment.

The "Cattlemen's Stewardship Review" comes at a critical point in time when people are more disconnected from agriculture and food production, yet there is an increasing interest in knowing more about who raises food, says Matt Deppe, director of industry relations for the Iowa Beef Industry Council. In fact, nearly three-out-of-four people say they want to know more about how beef is raised and who raises it. That's according to consumer research conducted with beef checkoff funds.

Cattlemen are committed to seven key fundamental principles

Built on a statement of seven fundamental principles adopted by U.S. cattle farmer and rancher leaders at the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in February 2011, this new review details cattlemen's commitment to preserving the environment, raising healthy cattle, providing quality food, enhancing food safety, investing in communities, embracing innovation and creating a sustainable future for generations to come.

"Being a cattle farmer is a challenge these days," points out Elaine Utesch of Triple U Ranch at Correctionville in northwest Iowa.  "We don't cut corners on food safety nor on the methods used to raise our cattle. We like the reputation of providing the most reasonably priced, safest, most nutritious food in the world.  The Cattlemen's Stewardship Review proactively provides a great summary for consumers to learn how the beef they eat is raised."

The review is broken into five key sections, which showcase key accomplishments of U.S cattle farmers and ranchers, including:

U.S. cattlemen provide 20% of the world's beef with only 7% of the world's cattle, meaning that they are helping provide valuable nutrients to a growing population both in the U.S. and abroad;

Since 1993, cattlemen have invested $30 million of their beef checkoff dollars in safety improvements. Collaborative beef-industry efforts have helped reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses, including E. coli O157:H7, which now affects less than one person in 100,000 people.    

More than 90% of feedyard cattle raised in the U.S. today are aided by Beef Quality Assurance (BQA), a checkoff-funded program that sets guidelines for animal care and handling.

Between 1977 and 2007 the "carbon footprint" of beef shrank 18% as farmers and ranchers raised 13% more beef with 13% fewer cattle. When compared to 1977, each pound of beef raised in 2007 used 20% less feed, 30% less land, 14% less water and 9% less fossil-fuel energy.

Environmental efforts by cattle farmers and ranchers help manage and protect more than 500 million acres of permanent grassland and a variety of wildlife and endangered species.

Nearly one-half of cattle farmers and ranchers volunteer with youth organizations and more than one-third donate their time to other civic organizations, compared to a national average of 7% of all Americans.

The new review is available at www.ExploreBeef.org, along with short videos of stakeholder interviews discussing the beef industry's accomplishments.

Producer-directed and consumer-focused, the Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1-per-head beef checkoff. Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand. For more information, visit www.iabeef.org.

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