In case you missed it…

… The MBA program hit 1,000 participants!

… Dairy producers continue to tell the beef checkoff story (scroll below the newsfeed).

… The beef checkoff attended World Dairy Expo and participated in blogging efforts to inform dairy producers about the beef checkoff.

Fiscal 2010 Budget Approved

The Beef Promotion Operating Committee has approved investment of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) Fiscal Year 2010 budget of $42.3 million on a total of 30 national checkoff programs.

At the 2009 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in July, CBB approved a budget of $41.6 million for Fiscal Year 2010, which begins Oct. 1, 2009. Thanks to checkoff revenue coming in higher than expected and some unspent administration funds in the current fiscal year, the Operating Committee last week recommended an amendment that increased that Fiscal Year 2010 budget to the $42.3 million, up slightly from $41.7 million in Fiscal Year 2009.

The approved plan of work funds promotion, research and information programs and is designed to build demand for beef using national checkoff funds. The Operating Committee, which is made up of 10 producer members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and 10 producer representatives from State Beef Councils, had to balance the industry’s requests for funding against anticipated checkoff collections for Fiscal Year 2010. USDA still must approve the plan before any funds can be expended.

Click here to read the full funding description for 2010.

2009 National Beef Cook-Off Winners Announced

In the end, it was Mary Hawkes, of Prescott, Ariz., who took home the $25,000 "Best in Beef" prize for her Sonoma Steaks with Vegetables Bocconcini in the checkoff-funded National Beef Cook-Off. Her winning recipe was one of five entered in the "Live Well with Fast & Convenient Grilled Beef," a category that only allowed competitors to use six ingredients (along with a few freebie ingredients such as salt), and three steps of preparation of less.

Hawkes used the herb marinade from the mozzarella balls to flavor the boneless beef top loin steaks and vegetables in her dish.

Here are the other winners, listed by category, state of residence and recipe name. First place winners received $10,000; second place received $5,000.

"Live Well with Fast & Convenient Grilled Beef Recipes"
• First place: Kristina Vanni, California, Orange-Chipotle Skirt Steaks
• Second place: Deborah Biggs, Nevada, Treviso Fig & Pear Steak Salad

"Teens Cooking with Beef"
• First place: Morgan Hanrahan, Washington, Southeast Asian Steak Salad
• Second place: Erin Ozment, Oklahoma, Olympian Burgers

"Lean Beef in Nutrient Rich One-Dish Meals"
• First place: Elizabeth Bennett, Washington, Sonoma Ranch Steak Salad
• Second place: Fran Fehling, New York, Beef Ranch Zucchini Gnocchi

Visit the Web site for recipes from this year’s Cook-Off competition.

2009 National Beef Cook-Off Chef Challenge Winners Announced

Grand Prize Award Winner: Carlo Cavallo, Executive Chef & Proprietor Meritage Restaurant for the Mustard and Lavender Encrusted Ribeye Slow Roasted & Smoked Over Cabernet Wine Barrel Oak Staves with Sonoma Olive Pesto

People’s Choice Award Winner: Erica Holland-Toll, Executive Chef Ducca for the Pepper Crusted Beef Ribeye Steaks with Agro-Dolce Onions

First Place Award Winners: Jonathan Clemons, Executive Chef Capitol Garage for the Bistro Steak Salad with Pinot Pine Nut Vinaigrette; Thomas Odermatt, Founder Roli Roti Gourmet Rotisserie for the Bistecca California with Meyer Lemon Curly Cress Gremolata and Fried Shallots; Korina McAlister, Handler/Culinary Director GuyFieri.com for the Cloven Sonoma Rose; and, James Stolich, CookWithJames.com for the Fall Braise of Beef Brisket.

Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative Participates in Phantom Food Festival

On Sept. 26, the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (a program of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board) participated in the Phantom Food Festival on the streets near Fenway Park in Boston, Mass. The team was prepared with 5,000 samples for a crowd of nearly 10,000.

Visitors to this year’s festival were treated to a delicious gourmet veal meatball from Marcho Farms, Franconia, Penn. With the sample, they also received new fall veal recipes and a seasonal holiday beef roast brochure.

Dairy BQA Executive Summary Released

Jason K. Ahola, University of Idaho Extension Beef Specialist, and Holly A. Foster, independent contractor for the California Beef Council, recently released an executive summary for the BQA pilot project which was conducted in collaboration with the Idaho Beef Council and California Beef Council that evaluated the quality of market dairy cows being sold at auction. The study summarized in the publication is based on procedures that have been utilized in previous checkoff-funded quality audits and was designed to give dairy producers more information about how their animals are valued within the beef chain when they are sold through auction markets.