Chefs, foodservice professionals and restaurant operators from 12 states were guests of the Kansas Beef Council (KBC) earlier this month for a comprehensive tour of the beef industry. The checkoff-funded event is designed to show influential people in the food business the beef production chain from ranches to packing plants.
These beef industry partners often are on the front line for answering consumer questions about how beef is raised. Following the tour, chefs said they learned ranchers and feeders are passionate about the care given to animals and observed it’s in each individual’s best interest to treat the cattle as humanely as possible. This knowledge will be used, according to participants, in day-to-day interactions with restaurant customers.
“Seeing it (the beef industry) for myself, I can be a defender and proactive when asked questions by my customers,” said Applebee’s corporate chef Melissa Haupt.
The tour started with a look at product research and development at the Cargill Innovations Center in Wichita. Other stops were hosted by Woolfolk Ranch of Protection, Gardiner Angus Ranch at Ashland, Midwest Feeders of Ingalls, JO Cattle Company at Holcomb and the Cargill Meat Solutions beef processing plant at Dodge City. The chefs also heard a presentation from Kansas State University veterinarian Dan Thomson, who talked about animal rights versus animal welfare, the importance of beef technology to feed a growing world population and the safety of antibiotics and growth promotants.
While KBC was the primary host of the tour, other beef councils participating in the event were Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, New York, Mississippi, Colorado, Kentucky, Utah and Florida. 

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