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Member Profile: The Tokach Family, St. Anthony, North Dakota

For Richard, Kathy, Rebecca and Ben of the Tokach family, advocating for the beef industry is definitely a family operation. You see, everyone in the family (expect for Renae who is still a little too young) has gone through the checkoff’s Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program.

“I think the Masters of Beef Advocacy program had a bit of a chain effect on our family. After Rebecca graduated from the program, her enthusiasm sparked the interests of the rest of our family members. Rebecca’s fiancé, Alex, and Ben’s girlfriend, Natalie, have also completed the program. The Masters of Beef Advocacy program has the ability to get graduates excited, enthused and active in promoting the beef industry,” says Richard Tokach.

We caught up with Richard and his daughter Rebecca to learn more about them as a family and their experience with the MBA program. The interview follows below.

Q: Tell me about your operation?

Richard Tokach: We operate a 2nd generation Angus seed stock operation headquartered near the small community of St. Anthony, North Dakota. We calve a bit over 500 cows in a traditional spring calving system and raise all our own feedstuffs, with the exception of some distillers, plus sell some wheat and sunflowers as a cash crop.

Q: What are you hoping to get out the MBA program?

Rebecca Tokach: The main thing I wanted to get out the MBA program was the ability to be a successful “ag”vocate for our industry.  Most recently, I had the opportunity to go to a culinary school in Denver to teach culinary students how to cut meat. As we were going through the process, numerous students asked questions about “factory farms” and “organic” production. As a result of the facts that I learned through the MBA course, I was able to shed a positive light on the beef industry and help the future chefs better understand the truth about the best industry.  The best thing about being an advocate for the agriculture industry is that even though I may have only shared my story with 40 culinary students that day, those students will one day be chefs that hopefully can share my story with their customers.  The most rewarding feeling of being an “ag”vocate is knowing that not only did you help one person better understand agriculture, but to also know that they will go out and work to help others understand the truth about agriculture production.

Q: What has been the most useful part of the MBA program for you thus far?

Richard: The most useful past of the program in my opinion is how to stay on message without getting side tracked into issues that the general public has little understanding of. The phrase I remember best is that beef is safe, wholesome and nutritious. The words we use while visiting with fellow cattle producers are foreign and may even have negative connotations with those unfamiliar with the beef industry.

To enroll in the MBA program, click here.

Bolstering US Beef Demand in Taiwan

While Taiwanese consumers still have a strong appetite for U.S. beef, the issue of ractopamine residues has slowed the momentum of U.S. beef exports to Taiwan and raised some product safety concerns among consumers. To help importer and distributor sales staff properly address any concerns raised by their retail and foodservice clientele, the beef checkoff is providing educational training and product information.

Recent educational seminars attracted more than 100 new sales staff from Taiwan’s major beef importers and wholesalers. The program was tailored toward helping new employees present a positive image of U.S. beef and address any misperceptions or misinformation that may have spread among their customer base.

Also recently launched is a series of new beef checkoff-funded “farm to table” advertisements in leading printing media outlets to promote the superior quality and positive attributes of U.S. beef, while explaining various aspects of the U.S. food safety system and programs such as Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) that have helped make the United States the world’s leading beef exporter in 2011.

Click here to learn more about your investment in Foreign Marketing Programs.

Fall 2011 Food Foresight -- Now Available

This edition provides further analysis of the five major trends identified for 2011: doubling production with less impact on the environment; stakeholder demands for a bigger say in how food is produced; impact of the healthcare debate and societal choices on 'good' and 'bad' foods; new models for innovation, research and market advantage; and new tools/touch points to build stronger consumer relationships.

Reminder:  National Beef Quality Audit Under Way

The checkoff-funded 2011 National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA), led by scientists from Colorado State University and Texas A&M University is currently underway. The NBQA is designed to collect and analyze information from cooler audits in the packing sector, face-to-face interviews with beef supply chain partners and; for the first time, surveys of cattle producers including feeders, stockers, cow-calf operators, and seedstock producers. Producer input is being sought to strengthen the measurement of quality-based practices implemented on farms and ranches that support consumer confidence in beef products and production systems. The survey can be found online at www.cattlesurvey.com.