As calendar year 2012 comes to a close and we reflect back on the year, it’s hard to select only a few program highlights to share because there were so many. To be brief, we bring you the Top 5:
- BOLD research: Registered Dietitians and other health professionals received factual, scientifically supported beef nutrition information following the publication of the remarkable checkoff-funded Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) research study published in January in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. News of the study reached thousands of health professionals through an educational webinar about beef’s role in a heart-healthy diet.
- Greystone Culinary Event: The checkoff hosted an exclusive culinary education seminar at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. More than 30 leading research and development chefs from nationally recognized companies attended the “beef-immersion” course and received a 360-degree education that included culinary innovation, butchering techniques, and hands-on training with alternative beef cuts.
- American Heart Association Certified Beef Cuts: Food City worked with the beef checkoff to introduce four American Heart Association certified extra-lean beef cuts that meet its criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol. The four beef cuts are the Top Sirloin (select grade); Boneless Petite Roast, Filet, Kabob, and Stir-Fry.
- US Beef Exports: Central and South America have emerged as top growth markets for U.S. beef with even greater potential for the future. Working against a global market where beef imports are generally down, the Central/South America region is up sharply through the first nine months of 2012, purchasing 57.7 million pounds of U.S. beef valued at $99.2 million, increases of 36 percent in volume and 73 percent in value over last year.
- 2011 National Beef Quality Audit: The National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) is a comprehensive survey that evaluates beef industry efforts to continuously improve beef quality. Extensive enhancements were made to the 2011 NBQA design to provide the industry with direction on factors beyond the physical characteristics of beef, such as food safety, sustainability, animal well-being, and the consequences/impacts of beef production practices.
But as we ring in the New Year we also face challenges as an industry and as a checkoff program. At their 2013 Outlook & Strategies Seminar, CattleFax stated that they expect the US cattle inventory to be 89.8 million head on Jan. 1, 2013, down over 1 million head (1.1 percent) from a year ago.