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BEEF …

Author: Kristy

The beef industry assembly line

Laura Mushrush, Assistant Editor, Drovers CattleNetwork  |  Updated: 05/27/2014
The past few weeks I have been fortunate to spend time in numerous segments of the beef industry – from seedstock operations, a research herd, feedlot, packing and processing plants to marketing and interaction with domestic and foreign beef consumers.

First with the Drovers Cattle/Network editorial and sales team on a Colorado beef tour designed to further educate public relation and communication representatives from agriculture finance, equipment and animal-health and nutrition companies.

Starting at cow-calf operations, moving up to the JBS Kuner Feedlot and finishing at their Gridley packing plant, the beef production chain was clearly laid out before us – from genetic planning to a hanging carcass. Each segment worked to provide the next in line with a product, whether it be a weaned calf or a box of sirloins.

The following week I met with my Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Young Stockmen’s Academy (YSA) class in Kansas City. KLA created the YSA program to give cattlemen and women in their 20’s exposure to diverse areas of the cattle industry. Coincidently, our session was focused on segments in between the packing plant and consumer’s plate.

A highlight included touring Kansas City Steak Company, processors of U.S. Premium Beef. We watched as machines chopped out perfectly sized steaks to be sent off to individual consumers or restaurant chains such as Outback Steakhouse, where consistency is absolutely essential.

Later on in our trip we had the opportunity to handout beef samples at local grocery stores, connecting to beef eaters – learning firsthand what attracts and concerns the average metropolitan consumer when it comes to beef. Price, convenience and flavor were common discussion subjects, followed closely by healthfulness.

Then this week, I sat in on a few sessions at the United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Board of Directors Meeting and Production Showcase. Foreign representatives from countries such as India and Japan were in attendance with several USMEF members throughout the U.S. All were in attendance with a common goal – to sell and promote U.S. beef to foreign markets.

Brilliant minds within the USMEF collaborate every day, traveling to new territories to scope out the market, negotiating with country officials, and constantly honing in on target consumers with marketing campaigns – making it possible for a Japanese family to enjoy a cut of U.S. raised beef from a family ranch in Texas, or Montana, just to name a few.

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