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Beef Blog: April 2014

Posted 4/9/2014 by Bridget Bingham, Pennsylvania Beef Council

 Sustainability...Where we've been and where we're going

I couldn’t help but get a chuckle out of the cartoon above.  Although the idea of this cartoon is silly, the reality of it is becoming more and more conceivable to those of us in agriculture.  It is our privilege and our duty to think beyond the here and now and to consider the impact our actions will have on the future condition of our planet.  

The topic of sustainability is becoming a priority for many producers, stakeholders and influencers as we strive to feed 9 billion people in 2050.  This means 70 percent more food will be required to feed the growing population and all agricultural production will be needed to meet the demand.  The beef industry recognizes the important role it plays in the production of food in a more sustainable manner. 

One of the biggest challenges is wrapping our minds and actions around what is expected of us both individually and as a beef community in the area of sustainability.  There is not a universal, clear-cut definition for sustainability.  Currently, the definition is as unique to each person as each snowflake that has more than amply blanketed the Commonwealth this winter.   If you have 100 people there will be 100 definitions.   Perhaps the most common definition is utilizing fewer resources to produce more, but we can find common ground by saying that it is all about getting better over time.  When we say this, we recognize that it is about improvements from the past but also continuing to improve in the future. 

To get our industry moving forward, the beef checkoff funded the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind, a beef industry sustainability assessment, designed to capture how industry changes and improved management practices have affected beef’s long-term sustainability.   This research provides us with a benchmark for beef sustainability comparing 2005 and 2011. 

Recently, NCBA released the Sustainability Executive Summary which presents the results of the assessment in a format designed to target audiences who have advanced baseline knowledge of sustainability.  The executive summary is also intended to provide a broad overview of the work to individuals who are interested in learning more about the holistic nature of the project.

The high level findings from the assessment:
• In just 6 years, we have improved our overall sustainability by 5 percent since 2005. 
• If we focus on just the environment and social pillars we improved 7 percent.

Specific improvements from 2005 – 2011:
• The beef value chain lowered its energy use by 2 percent.
• The beef industry reduced land use by 4 percent. 

Assessment surprises:
• Greenhouse gasses started the sustainability conversation – now they are much less important than things like animal welfare and traceability.
• 40 percent of food is wasted, resulting in $2,500 year annually to a family.
• If we reduced beef waste by half, we could improve our sustainability by 10 percent.

A PDF version of this executive summary may be downloaded at  Please take a moment to look over this excellent source of information. 

Those of us in the beef industry can feel good about how we are positioned concerning beef’s past, present and future footprint.  This comprehensive assessment has given our voice credibility as we move the discussion forward with various stakeholders.


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Beef Blog: March 2014

Posted 3/17/2014 by Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN

Beef up your Healthy Diet 

March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is to “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” This theme mimics my philosophy that anything you choose to eat should be not only healthy, but also delicious. Red meat is definitely delicious, but can it be part of a healthy diet? Of course it can!

Beef Recommendations
Over the years, red meat has been demonized by the media leading many folks to believe that beef should only be eaten once a week. This recommendation is unfounded with no scientific evidence to back it up. Current recommendations from the United States Department of Agricultures (USDA) MyPlate and the American Heart Association (AHA) state that lean beef can be a regular part of a healthy diet. How much you should consume depends on age and gender.

Here are the lean protein recommendations based on USDA’s MyPlate. These recommendations are appropriate for those who get less than 30 minutes of physical activity per day, beyond everyday activities. Folks who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within their daily calorie needs.


Ages 19-30 years: 5 ½ ounces per day
Ages 31 years and above: 5 ounces per day

Ages 19-30 years: 6 ½ ounces per day
Ages 31-50 years: 6 ounces per day
Ages 51 years and above: 5 ½ ounces per day

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was designed to assess the health and nutrition status of children and adults in the United States. According to data extracted from the 1999 to 2004 NHANES Survey, Americans consume an average of 1.7 ounces of beef every day. This is well below the amounts recommended by the USDA.

The AHA also states red meat can fit into a healthy diet as long as you limit the amount. The AHA recommends limiting lean meat, skinless chicken and fish to less than 6 ounces per day, total. 

Go Lean with Protein!
Both the USDA and AHA recommend choosing lean cuts of beef. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the term “lean” is defined as meat that has less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3.5 ounce portion. Lean cuts of beef include top loin (strip) steak, top sirloin, tenderloin (filet mignon), and 93% or leaner ground beef. Besides meeting the “lean” criteria, 3 ounces of cooked beef contributes many good-for-you nutrients making it nutrient-dense food. Vitamins and minerals found in lean beef include vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, iron, riboflavin, iron, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and potassium. In addition, more than half the fat found in lean cuts of beef comes from the healthy unsaturated kind.

What should be eaten sparingly are higher fat cuts of beef and processed items like sausage and hot dogs. In addition to being high in artery clogging saturated fat, processed meats are also brimming with sodium. But this guideline doesn’t only apply to high fat beef. High fat cuts of any animal protein which doesn’t meet the FDA’s “lean” criteria should be limited.

Tips for Eating Lean Beef
In order to make beef part of your healthy diet, keep these tips in mind:

When shopping
• If purchasing lean beef from your butcher, request the exact portions needed. Remember, 4 ounces of raw beef is equivalent to 3 ounces cooked.
• If purchasing pre-packaged lean beef, divide portions out when you get home. Extra portions can be stored in re-sealable freezer-safe bags. Having exact portions on hand can help save money and keeps portions in check.

When cooking
• Stick with 3 ounce portions of lean beef, the size of a deck of cards or your smartphone.
• Trim off the visible fat before cooking.
• Use healthier cooking methods like stewing, grilling, broiling, and baking.
• Compliment your lean beef with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy for a well-balanced meal. 

Nutrition expert Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: more than 130 delicious, healthy recipes for every meal of the day (Grand Central Publishing, May 2014). She is a nutrition expert for and contributor to’s Healthy Eats blog for over 7 years. Toby has a monthly 'Ask The Expert' column in Today's Dietitian Magazine, is a contributor to U.S. News & World Report Eat + Run blog, a nutrition advisor for Sears' Fitstudio, and an adjunct professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. For more information, visit her website at or follow her on twitter @tobyamidor

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Beef Blog: February 2014

Posted 2/17/2014 by Christie Brown, Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI)

Live Lean and Love Beef in 2014 

For those of us who have made New Year’s resolutions, we’re about one and a half months in.  The majority of the resolutions made each year are health, fitness and diet related.  These types of resolutions are very attainable and doable for all of us.  If the specific goal is realistic and the one making the goal is self-motivated and disciplined and has some sort of accountability, it has all the necessary ingredients for success. 

Whether your resolution was to lose weight, improve your VO2 max, increase your running mileage for the year or build muscle mass, proper nutrition will play a very important role in your new goal for 2014.

Weight gain, maintenance and loss all boils down to the basic ratio of calories consumed versus calories expended.  Calories consumed must be less than calories expended for weight loss and calories consumed must be greater than calories expended for weight gain.  Keeping your calorie intake equal to your calorie expenditures will simply maintain your weight.

In addition to keeping an eye on your calories consumed versus calories used ratio, it is very important to make your calories count and to steer clear of empty calories.  Choose nutrient dense foods such as lean animal proteins, dairy products, whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables. 

Let’s take a look at beef.  An average 3 ounce serving of cooked beef contains 150 calories.  It contains less than 10 grams of total fat, less than 4.5 grams of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol. Take a closer look at Lean Beef 1011 to see the power of lean beef. It also contains 10% or more of 10 essential vitamins and minerals.  (That’s a lot of 10’s) Check out Beef’s Big Ten to lean more!

In addition to being deliciously flavorful and tasty, beef is satisfying, nutrient dense and lean!  It’s no wonder lean beef is a key source of nutrients for a health and fitness-focused New Year’s resolution! 

The beef checkoff, through the NEBPI launched the 6th annual New Year’s beef promotion on January 9th and this promotion will run until March 29th.   “Livin’ Lean. Lovin’ Beef” will remind shoppers to include lean beef in their healthy active lifestyles as they implement their new year’s resolutions.  This beef promotion encourages shoppers to visit for nutritional information, lean beef recipes, and the chance to win a $100 grocery gift card to their participating retailer.

Check out to participate in this 2014 beef promotion, funded by the beef checkoff and after you do, tell us about your 2014 New Year’s resolution!

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Beef Blog: January 2014

Posted 1/9/2014 by Rachael Wolters, 2014 National Beef Ambassador

The 2014 Pennsylvania Farm Show, from the eyes of a National Beef Ambassador

The Beef Council was thrilled to welcome members of the 2014 National Beef Ambassador Team to Pennsylvania for the annual Farm Show, January 4-11. Rachael, Emma and Sierra came from across the country to help educate consumers about where their beef comes from. 

While the weather created some travel challenges (as Pennsylvania winter weather can often do), the team arrived in time for opening weekend and participated in several events, including the PA Preferred™ VIP Reception, Today's Ag Blogger Tour and even spent some time with Dairy Carrie.

Racheal talks more about their time at the Farm Show in her blog, Cow's Eat Candy Too? Be sure to check it out! You can also keep up with the team on Facebook.

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Beef Blog: December 2013

Posted 12/12/2013 by Diane Henderson, Communications Manager, Cattlemen’s Beef Board

Going Digital with ‘Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner’

As you might have heard, some big changes are in the works in 2014 for the beef checkoff’s ‘Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner’ advertising campaign. In recognition of the importance of marketing via electronic devices -- such as smartphones, tablets, cell phones, computers and consoles – the Beef Promotion Operating Committee approved a shift from the traditional integrated print and radio campaign to a fully digital marketing campaign that will deliver beef messages on email, blogs and social networks.

A drastic change, for sure. But it corresponds with drastic changes in modern communication and certainly didn’t come about without sound reasoning aimed at increasing demand for beef among the generation of the future.

At the base of this decision is solid market research that identifies millennials – consumers now between about 20 and 34 years old – as the target audience for beef information, and corresponding research that defines social media as the best way to reach this audience.

We think you’ll understand the underlying strategy for the switch to digital through a quick review of a few examples of what we know about millennials and digital communications.

DID YOU KNOW, for example…
• … that the millennial population in the United States is the largest generation – at 80 million strong and the most connected? In fact, forecasts indicate that this important generation of consumers will outspend baby boomers by 2017, as household size and food spending decline among older generations. By 2020, millennial spending is expected to reach $1.4 trillion a year!

• … that nearly half of babies in the United States have used a computer or mobile device before their second birthday? In general, millennial families with children ages 8 and younger have recorded a five-fold increase in ownership of tablet devises, such as iPads, from 8 percent of all families in 2011 to an astounding 40 percent in 2013! Further, the percentage of children with access to some type of “smart” mobile device – such as smart phones or tablets – at home has jumped from 52 percent to 75 percent in just two years.

• … that millennials, who are just entering child-bearing years, currently are reducing the amount of beef that they serve to their kids? And research indicates that millennials will not increase their beef consumption if they do not have answers to some questions: About 75 percent say they want more information about how to cook and prepare steaks; 67 percent would like to see trained butchers on staff at supermarkets to provide cooking advice; 55 percent want more information about preparing and serving beef to children; 54 percent say it’s hard to know what cuts to choose in the meat case; and 50 percent would buy more beef if they knew more about the different cuts.

• … that while beef’s great taste is the No. 1 reason consumers eat beef, health is the No. 1 reason millennials are limiting their beef intake? But there is hope, as research indicates that these consumers’ knowledge about beef nutrition is the missing link. In fact, 45 percent of millennials say they would be “very” or “extremely” likely to add more beef meals to their menus after they discover that beef is nutrient-rich, lean, and compares favorably to chicken when it comes to nutrition.

• … that consumers in the millennial generation are the ones asking the most questions about how farmers and ranchers raise their food? They want information about animal welfare and proof of human treatment of animals. They want to know exactly how cattle are raised and if there’s any truth to so-called “factory farming.” They want measures of the impact of beef production on the environment.

All of this translates to tremendous opportunities for the Beef Checkoff Program, because millennials are a growing generation, with growing families and growing influence, who will make beef-buying decisions for the next 40-plus years.

For millennials, knowledge plus experience equals believing. With their use of digital communications growing exponentially – and research showing that this generation is more likely to share experiences widely through social networks -- your Beef Checkoff Program’s shift to digital advertising is about making real, meaningful connections to share the positive, science-based story about beef nutrition and production with consumers at this critical juncture.

It’s all about making sure that Beef is What’s for Dinner for millennials and generations to come!


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Beef Blog: November 2013

Posted 11/15/2013 by Felicia Stoler, DCN, MS, RD, FACSM

This RD Eats Beef – Reflections of a Farm Tour

When people find out I am an RD, they assume I’m a vegan.  I’m a flexitarian – I eat mostly plant based foods, but do eat animal products.  It is usually followed by, “you don’t eat red meat do you?”  I do – I love the taste of it and the nutrients.  I don’t eat it every day.  I usually eat the leanest cuts of beef.  Once in a while, I must just share a porterhouse, cowboy or ribeye.  My weakness is beef Carpaccio, over arugula with shaved Parmesan, olive oil and lemon juice.

I have the utmost respect for farmers.  Last spring, I received a complimentary copy of the first issue of Modern Farmer magazine.  There is something romantically simple about the life of a farmer.  It is hard work; by no means do I take the physical efforts or ignore the stress that farmers experience when Mother Nature wreaks havoc on their livelihood.  The one thing that I admire about most farmers that I’ve met, is they always talk about their families, their ability to have more time with their kids, and what a good “quality of life” living on a farm provides.

We assume quality of life is highly correlated with financial wealth.  Yet farmers see the bigger picture and have great job satisfaction.  I’ve never seen CEOs of financial companies or food companies show pictures of their spouse/partner and/or kids.  Farmers always do.  Less than two percent of our US population lives on a farm and is a farmer.  There are fewer farmers with less land to be used to create food for the increased number of mouths on this planet that need to be fed.

This was not my first trip to an Angus beef farm.  Angus cows have black coats and trace back to Scotland.  I’m amazed by the curiosity and friendly nature that cows have with humans.  Cows used for beef have a diet of plants – silage, grass, and hay with a multivitamin/mineral mix.  Let me note, this farm had one big bull – the rest were females.  It is ironic in the food and animal world, females get the preferential treatment.  The males just don’t play nicely on the farm.  Animals are similar to humans in that they have “pack” behavior and there’s always a few dominant leaders.

A common urban legend is that the hormones and antibiotics used in cows cause early maturation and menstruation among young girls.  In a recent dairy farm tour, a pediatrician showed data points looking at peak dairy consumption in the US – it was in the 1960s.  The gradual reduction in age of menstruation are being caused by other factors (like obesity).  I asked our host – who is a seventh generation farmer – if he uses antibiotics or hormones in his cows.  He said, “that will be a very short discussion, the answer is no.”  Good farming practices should prevent cows from getting sick.  No growth hormones are used for size or to help stimulate pregnancy.

Antibiotics are only used if needed… just as you would with your child or pet, if they are sick.  The notion of antibiotic resistance is a concern across all species.

I particularly enjoyed the presentation by Dennis Byrne, the farmer at Herr’s Angus Beef Farm.  I love that they feed their cows a blend of snacks they nicknamed the Herr’s Steer Mix from the Herr’s factory: popcorn, potato chips, pretzels and cheese puffs.  Cows really eat anything.

We had a blind taste test.  Despite all that we have heard about “grass finished beef” being allegedly better for one’s health – to my discerning palate, the corn fed just tastes better.  For me, food is all about the taste… and nutrient value.  In fact, one of my reasons for not being a vegan is economy of calories… a small six ounce piece of meat is all I need for my daily protein needs.  Amino acids are found in vegetables, grains and dairy products.

My kids LOVE beef!  The skirt steak that I brought home from Walbridge Farm received rave reviews from my teens who said it was the best tasting steak they had ever had.  Note – it was frozen and cryovac packed.  They were able to taste the difference in the meat from the “local” farmer.  It was not organic.  It was raised with care and responsibility.  The one message that the farmers consistently want us to share: they do have GOOD farming practices and they wish the media would stop focusing on the exception – not the rule.

Farmers take their responsibility in feeding the planet very seriously.  We owe them gratitude and respect.  Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!

To read more from Felicia, visit


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Beef Blog: October 2013

Posted 10/10/2013 by Christie Brown, Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI)

What is Your Most Valuable Protein this Fall?

A chill is in the air as the 2013 fall season approaches here in Pennsylvania.  Energetic school children can be seen walking to and from school, college towns are booming every other Saturday as tailgaters’ crowd stadium parking lots, and it seems like each community across the state is holding a road race at least once during the fall months. 

The beef checkoff, through the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI) is highlighting beef as the most valuable protein this season by partnering with 172 retail locations throughout the northeast to launch the fall tailgating beef promotion.  Local Pennsylvania retailer, Redner’s Warehouse Markets, Reading, will be displaying the promotional point-of-sale material in their meat departments across the eastern part of the state, as well as in their Maryland and Delaware locations.  This retail promotion will run from September 9-November 1.  Visit to see a list of all the participating retailers. 

In an effort to reach the Redner’s shoppers outside of the store, a partnership was forged once again with the beef checkoff to extend this fall tailgating beef promotion at a large consumer event located in the Redner’s shopping area.  This time, instead of tailgate enthusiasts, the audience will be distance runners!  Bethlehem, PA, will be hosting the 2nd annual Runner’s World Half Marathon Festival October 18-20, and beef will, once again, be the most valuable protein to runners.

Beef checkoff staff will be teaming up with Redner’s to serve and sample 1,500 Roast Beef & Veggie Wraps to race expo attendees.  The fall tailgating recipe booklets, featuring the wrap recipe, will be distributed  to runners along with wrap samples.  Expo attendees will also be encouraged to ‘like’ the “Northeast Loves Beef” on Facebook and enter the promotional sweepstakes for a chance to win $250 in free groceries and other beef related prizes.  Learn more about the NEBPI by visiting  

Tell us, whether you are an avid tailgater cheering on your favorite team or a road runner, what is your fuel for the finish?

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Beef Blog: September 2013

Posted 9/12/2013 by Olivia Rush, 2013 Pennsylvania Beef Ambassador

Greetings, from the 2013 PA Beef Ambassador!

Hi Everyone!  My name is Olivia Rush and I am privileged to be the 2013 Pennsylvania Beef Ambassador.  I am a junior at Penn State University where I am majoring in Animal Science and minoring in Agribusiness Management.  I was selected as beef ambassador in March 2013, and have had a blast in my present role. 

During the past six months, I have had the opportunity to explore many aspects of the beef industry, from cattle production to consumer promotion. In May alone, I traveled to Maryland for the National Harbor Food & Wine Festival, visited Clarion Farms dairy beef operation, meet the PA Secretary of Agriculture, and attended the Fox Chase Farm to Table Day.  June brought more exciting events such as Oregon Family Farm Days in Lititz, and the Reading Fightin’ Phils Farmer’s Night.  I was also given the chance to attend one of the PA Beef Council’s board meetings and tour the Wyalusing Cargill plant in July.

My next big event is coming up at the end of September.  I will be traveling to Springdale, Arkansas to compete for one of five spots on the National Beef Ambassador Team.  I will participate in a number of different competition areas, including a consumer presentation, media interview and issue response.  I am excited about this opportunity and honored to represent Pennsylvania!

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Beef Blog: August 2013

Posted 8/19/2013 by Nichole Hockenberry, Pennsylvania Beef Council

Transparency is Key with Consumers

While many times we chuckle at the pure ignorance consumers have of our industry, the beef industry, it is also our job to tell our story and break that trend. We have a legendary story to be told with many milestones over the years including technology, product quality, environmental sustainability and animal care.

The consumer disconnect from the farm is certainly apparent in the funny, yet awkward, exchange when a news anchor mistakenly called a pair of Black Angus cattle, “Black and Gus," during his broadcast. See below.

Youtube Link:

Yet, this is only one example of the lack of understanding/knowledge both the media and consumers have of our industry. Today, we as an industry are very aware that there is a strong disconnect between consumers and agriculture. Today’s average consumer is three or more generations removed from the farm, but we have to realize that many of us are likewise unfamiliar with the hustle and bustle of the busy city/urban life. With that being said, it is very clear we have our work cut out for us to help bridge the wide gap between producers and consumers.

Transparency is key when trying to connect with consumers. Today’s consumers, with a large portion fitting into the Millennial age bracket, are very intelligent and are information seeking when it comes to food and purchasing decisions. It is important that we try to understand their concerns and questions as well.  When responding or communicating to consumers it is also important to answer them in a compassionate way, yet being honest about the reasons and science behind our production methods. There are many ways, no matter the size or scale of your farm, that you can help communicate the beef story. You, too, can make a difference by helping share your story through your local community, friends, neighbors, co-workers and even family members.

How are some ways you tell your beef story?

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Beef Blog: July 2013

Posted 7/12/2013 by Tiffany Cessna, Pennsylvania Beef Council

Are You Doing Your Part to Keep Consumers Lovin’ Beef?

The Beef Checkoff Program is a producer-funded marketing and research program designed to increase domestic and international demand for beef.  This can be done through promotion, research and new product development, and a variety of other marketing tools.

When you sell your calves at the local livestock market, you pay your $1-per-head beef checkoff to invest in maintaining strong demand for your product.  But did you know that when you harvest an animal and sell the beef through a farmer’s market, online, or to your friends and neighbors, you also need to pay your share of the checkoff, too?

Yep, that’s right.  Every cattle producer or importer of beef and beef products is required to pay the dollar-per-head, or equivalent beef checkoff assessment, every time a bovine animal changes hands.  But here’s the good news: Recent econometric research indicates that the beef checkoff returns $5.55 for every $1 you invest.  Now that’s an ROI that investors in most any industry would envy!

You might be most familiar with the “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” advertising campaign, because that’s probably the most visible checkoff program, but the return on your dollar-per-head also comes through things like the checkoff’s promotion of the benefits of beef in a healthy diet; discovery of ways to keep the U.S. beef supply safe; development of more than 3,000 new beef products since 1998; and consumer education about beef and the beef industry, including things like BSE, as well as research and education about management practices that keep your animals healthy, to name just a few.

With that in mind, I want to take you through a quick review of what the checkoff is and what your associated role and responsibilities are in it:

The national Beef Checkoff Program was authorized with congressional passage of the Beef Promotion and Research Act and Order, as part of the 1985 Farm Bill, requiring collection of $1-per-head every time cattle change ownership.  After an 18-month “test run” of the program, beef producers voted 79 percent in favor of making the program mandatory, via a producer referendum in 1988.

The checkoff is due on all cattle sales, regardless of the age, breed or purpose of the animal.  Typically, the person or business paying you for your cattle is responsible for collecting the $1-per-head beef checkoff assessment – these collecting persons or points include livestock markets, order buyers and packers.  You might, however, be the designated collecting person when you buy or sell cattle through private-treaty transactions.  Both the buyer and seller are responsible for making sure that the beef checkoff is properly reported and remitted, so it’s important that both parties are clear about who is making the payment.  All assessments are due by the 15th of the month following the month of the sale.

The checkoff is also collected when you harvest the cattle that you have raised with the intent of selling the meat to consumers (whether directly to another individual, through farmer’s markets, or via wholesale or retail).

Pennsylvania’s producers, livestock markets, dealers and packers report and pay beef checkoff assessments to the Pennsylvania Beef Council.  One-half of each dollar you invest is used to promote beef right here in Pennsylvania –  visit our website ( or the Cattlemen’s Beef Board’s website ( to learn more about what we are doing to build beef demand.  You can also give me a call if you want more information about the program, or if you need to request a beef checkoff remittance form. I would be glad to help!

The long and short is this: Whether you market your cattle as live animals or as freezer beef, be sure to invest your fair share into the future of your industry.  Your $1-per-head investment can make a big difference in helping build beef demand, and the return filters back to you.


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Beef Blog: June 2013

Posted 6/13/2013 by Christie Brown, Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI)

What’s on Your Grill?

The 2013 summer grilling season is in full swing!  Memorial Day was weeks ago, Father’s Day is just around the corner and the Fourth of July will be here before we know it.  Did you know the number one grilling holiday is the Fourth of July and the number one protein Americans choose to put on their grill is beef?  Nearly three out of four American grillers say the one meat they most often grill is beef (69%) versus chicken (25%) or pork (6%).  This is great news for beef lovers!  The question now is what will be on YOUR grill?

Grilling is one of the most enjoyable and healthy ways to enjoy beef.  Whether cooking on a gas or charcoal grill, in the backyard or at a tailgate, this cooking method provides maximum flavor and optimal tenderness.

1. Choose Your Cut – Some of the best cuts for grilling include the Top Loin (Strip/NY Strip) Steak, the Flank Steak and the Ribeye.  No one can pass up a juicy burger so, of course, Ground Beef is a sure crowd pleaser as well.

2. Prepare Your Beef – Prepare your grill (gas or charcoal) according to the manufacturer’s directions for medium heat.  Remove the beef from the refrigerator and season as desired.  If you’re grilling a Flank Steak, your best bet is to marinade it for at least two hours prior to grilling. 

3. Grill Your Beef – Place your beef on the cooking grid and cover the grill.  
    • Strip Steak: ¾ inch to 1 inch thick, grill for 7-10 minutes total on a charcoal or gas grill,   to an internal temperature of 145°F for medium rare or to an internal temperature of 160°F for medium. 
    • Marinated Flank Steak: 1 ½ - 2 pounds, grill for 11-16 minutes on a charcoal grill or 16-21 minutes on a gas grill.
    • Ribeye Steak: ¾ inch to 1 inch thick, grill for 7-10 minutes on a charcoal grill or 7-9 minutes on a gas grill.
    • Hamburger/Cheeseburger Patties: Lightly shape the ground beef into ½ inch thick patties.    Don’t press or pierce the patties during cooking or all your flavorful juices will run out.  Grill burgers uncovered for 11 to 13 minutes or covered for 7-8 minutes, turning occasionally until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the center registers 160°F.  Season with salt after cooking (salt added before cooking draws out moisture and inhibits browning).

Extra Grilling Tips
    • Turn the beef occasionally with tongs.  
    • Don’t pierce steak or burgers or flavorful juices will escape.
    • You’ll know when the steak is ready to flip over when it comes loose from the grill plate on its own and doesn’t need a whole lot of force to pull it loose. 

All this talk of grilling beef is making me hungry!  Speaking of which, how would you like to win a $500 grocery gift card this summer?  Visit to enter to win our 2013 Summer Grilling sweepstakes and view a great line-up of summer grilling recipes and more grill tips!  Hurry, entries are being accepted until September 3!


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Beef Blog: May 2013

Posted 5/10/2013 by Kristi Rooker Kassimer, Pennsylvania Beef Council

May is Beef Month! That's worth a celebration!

On Friday, May 10, PA Agriculture Secretary George Greig joined the Beef Council and Port Family to kick off May as Beef Month at Clarion Farms, Clarion.

After touring the farm and its retail location, Greig enrolled Clarion Farms in the PA Preferred™ program and declared May as Beef Month to pay tribute to PA's beef industry, which provides quality, wholesome products to consumers.

Clarion Farms is one of more than 3,600 beef and dairy operations that are certified through PA's BQA program. Read more or see photos.

You can also keep up with John-Scott Port's active blog. Read JohnScottsThoughts.

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