My Beef Checkoff: February dairy edition

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Did You Know ...

... “Like” MyBeefCheckoff on Facebook for the latest news and updates.

... New beef research publications are available.

... Kim Brackett was named 2014 Cattlemen’s Beef Board chair.

Did you know ...

... that providing 30-minute nutritious meal solutions  is just one of the things that your checkoff is doing to show millennials how beef can fit into their lifestyle? The checkoff also motivates foodservice chefs and other professionals to sell more beef by providing them with a steady flow of knowledge, fact-based information and inspiration to keep their menus alive and active with beef. This includes new opportunities for preparing beef, through preparation methods, new flavor combinations and profiles, and new equipment and appliances.

... that your checkoff’s “Easy Fresh Cooking” labels provide recipe, cookery and safe-handling information in one convenient on-pack sticker on fresh beef products? The labels are proven to build consumer confidence in purchasing a wider variety of beef cuts:  72 percent of shoppers say they have bought a product because of the on-pack marketing, and 46 percent say they are more likely to purchase new or different cuts as a result. Easy Fresh Cooking takes the guess work out of the meat case, making beef easier to shop for and easier to stock. More than 10,000 stores nationwide use the checkoff program or a similar customized offshoot of it.

Learn more about product benefits here.

Did you know ...

... you can become BQA certified for FREE? For a second year, your checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program is giving you the chance to become certified for free thanks to a partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) and the Beef Cattle Institute (BCI) housed at Kansas State University. The cost of BQA certification is normally $25 to $50; however, from Feb. 3, through April 15, 2014, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) will defray the cost of the certification or recertification, making it free. Visit www.bqa.org/team or www.BIVI-BQA.com to get started.

Keith York Named National Dairy BQA Award Winner

Merry-Water farms is a family farm which began in 1950 with Keith’s parents Walter and Mary York. He is the 3rd generation on the farm. It began as a 40-cow dairy with a variety of other livestock and other animals typical for a farm in the 1950s. Today, the dairy farm has 1,350 cows with 1,250 replacement heifers and 200 young steers. They farm 650 acres of land and purchase the rest of their feed from neighboring farmers. Keith raises all replacement heifers until they are bred. After they are determined pregnant, two neighbors custom raise until 45 days before they calve. The dairy sells bull calves at different ages depending on capacity of the facilities (they have room for 150 to 250 head depending on size).

“The well-being of our animals is one of the top priorities for our farm,” Keith says. “If we take care of our animals they will take care of us. This is a common saying that is stated by many farms but it is a basic truth that all farmers know to be the golden rule of farming. Our animals need to be comfortable and stress free to be as productive as possible.”

All employees are trained in moving cattle without causing stress. This is done by training on the farm or at presentations or classes that go over best handling techniques. Merry-Water Farms has made a huge investment in facilities with the main purpose of making the cows more comfortable and productive.

When it comes to sustainability of his operation, Keith says, “Sustainable is defined in many ways but I view it as a 3-legged stool with the three legs being care for the environment, economically sustainable and socially responsible. I know that in order for a livestock farm to continue the key is the animal well-being of its livestock. The care of our animals results in the animals being productive which results in efficiency in production which results in economic advantage. Ethically we should and the consumer wants us to take the best care of the animals that we can.”

Learn more about all of the BQA award winners, including Keith York, here.

Veal Program Promotional Activities

The veal industry survey results are complete! A majority of stakeholders indicated that they want veal marketed during key holidays, especially New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, July 4th and Columbus Day. Survey respondents also asked for more frequent veal communication and several use social media platforms, primarily Facebook and Twitter, to share information and promotions. Respondents would also like to see veal promoted on a quarterly basis with an emphasis on the Columbus Day holiday. Survey data will help guide future veal program tactics.

The first social media promotion of the fiscal year wrapped up on Jan. 15, accumulating 1,024 entries, 1,537 visits, 310 shares, and 95 referrals. This holiday-themed promotion increased the Veal Made Easy Facebook page likes by more than 35 percent, engaging new consumers with positive veal messages.  Carly, from Pennsylvania, was the randomly selected contest winner of two iPad Airs – one for her and one for a friend.

The VLT (veal, lettuce and tomato sandwich) gained positive reviews from Rizzuto’s Restaurant. Consumers are sharing their Veal reviews and comments via an online survey. Results will follow next month.

On Jan. 16, the Beef Checkoff Program launched the “Eat Better. Eat Veal.” retail promotion which celebrates veal as delicious, easy to prepare meal. The program is supported by more than 1,700 grocery stores and more than 344,000 on-pack recipe labels. Key program elements include an online sweepstakes with a grand prize of $1,000 in free groceries, on-pack recipe labels and social and traditional media. TV spots will air in top retailer markets (Harrisburg-Lebanon-Lancaster-York, PA; Jacksonville, FL; New York, NY and Philadelphia, PA) before and after Dr. Oz vignettes. Sponsored tags and geo-targeted advertising also will generate promotion awareness.  Learn more about the sweepstakes at www.vealmadeeasy.com.


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