Beef Takes Stage at Chicago Culinary Conference

Adam Wegner, Director of Marketing

Kearney, NE (February 10, 2017) – The beef checkoff hosted chef’s from across the Midwest at the 2017 American Culinary Federation (ACF) ChefConnect conference held February 5-7 in Chicago. Over 50 culinary professionals attended the educational session where they learned about the history of the beef industry and the process for aging beef. State beef councils from Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas collaborate each year to have a presence at the regional and national ACF conferences with the intent to educate foodservice professionals on the latest beef news and trends.

The checkoff-sponsored presentation included a brief history of the Chicago Union Stockyards by Donald Stewart, lifelong Chicago resident and former Cattlemen’s Beef Board member. Stewart explained the evolution of beef processing and transportation which led to the practice of dry and wet aging beef.     

“It’s important for culinary professionals to understand the concept of aging beef and the rich history of beef in Chicago plays a part in that,” said Stewart. “Aging directly affects flavor and tenderness which ultimately determines customer satisfaction.”

Attendees were given the opportunity to taste the differences between dry-aged and wet-aged beef and learn about the advantages of each process. Chef Dave Zino, executive chef for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association led the discussion and encouraged the audience to consider ways beef could add value to their operations and provide a memorable eating experience for their customers.

“I continue to be amazed at how hungry chefs are for beef information. Our sessions are always well attended and the chefs are always very engaged with the topics we present. I am honored to work with state beef councils in executing these programs,” said Zino.

For nearly a decade, the beef checkoff has participated in ACF regional and national conferences to build relationships within the foodservice industry. Over 7.5 billion pounds of beef are sold through foodservice in the United States each year.

Beef Tour Connects Influencers with Nebraska’s Beef Community

Adam Wegner, Director of Marketing

KEARNEY, NE – The Nebraska Beef Council hosted its annual Beef Experience Tour on June 7th and 8th for a group of 24 influencers from across the country. The tour attendees included chefs, foodservice professionals, dietitians and culinary instructors from states such as New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Maryland, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The educational tour is offered to help attendees better understand the beef production process and how the various segments of the beef community work together to raise quality beef products. 

“We have the unique opportunity to showcase the entire beef production system right here in Nebraska,” said Adam Wegner, Director of Marketing for the Nebraska Beef Council. “We know that transparency is important and we want to show these influencers how beef is raised from start to finish.”

The tour began with a visit to Cargill Meat Solutions in Schuyler. The group witnessed the harvest process and carcass breakdown resulting in boxed beef ready for shipment. The group went on to Columbus for lunch and a panel discussion with local veterinarians to learn about animal care, the Beef Quality Assurance program and the practices used today to treat sick cattle. From there the attendees experienced the Nebraska Sandhills at Wagonhammer Ranch near Bartlett and Glaser Farms, an organic grass-finished beef operation near Spalding. 

“I was truly impressed by the systematic care and attention to detail that was used throughout the beef production process, from the tending of grass and cattle to the safety and clean production processes used throughout the harvesting phase,” said Jill Castle, registered dietitian and nutrition consultant from Connecticut. “It was easy to see that hard work, pride, and conscientiousness were top priorities among the farmers, ranchers and processing professionals involved in the beef industry.” 

The second day included a stop at J&S Feedlot near Howells where the attendees were able to see a large scale feeding operation and learn about the various feed sources used to raise high quality beef. The group concluded their visit at Brune Farms outside of Dodge where they learned about crop production and the importance of grain to area cattle feeders. 

“Every farm has a beautiful story to tell including the relationships we have with one another,” said Joan Ruskamp, owner of J&S Feedlot along with her husband, Steve. “When the consumer has the chance to hear that story directly from us, we are able to build a relationship based on trust not fear.”

The Nebraska Beef Council has hosted farm and ranch tours for over a decade. With almost four times more cattle than people, Nebraska produces over seven billion pounds of red meat each year – the most of any state in the country. According to Wegner, the attendees for the tour were specifically chosen because of their ability to share their experience with others. “We can’t take every person out on a farm tour, but we can share the beef community’s story with folks who are in contact with consumers every day,” Wegner said. “The more informed people are about food production; the better consumers they will be.” 

Beef Industry Recognizes Bosshamer for 20 Years of Service

Adam Wegner, Director of Marketing

KEARNEY, NE – The Nebraska Beef Council congratulates their executive director, Ann Marie Bosshamer for dedicating 20 years of service to the beef industry. Bosshamer leads a team that oversees the collection and management of the $1 per head Beef Checkoff in Nebraska.   

Recognized by many Nebraskans as the “Voice of Beef,” Bosshamer has been featured on radio and television commercials as part of the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” advertising campaign. Over the years, Bosshamer’s voice has joined the likes of Sam Elliott and Matthew McConaughey to deliver beef nutrition and preparation messages to consumers across the state.  

“Ann Marie has been a tremendous asset to the beef community over the years,” said Buck Wehrbein, current board chairman for the Nebraska Beef Council. “We couldn’t ask for a more passionate, tireless ambassador for our industry.”

During her 20 years of service at the Beef Council, Bosshamer has worked closely with various other agriculture organizations including the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture (A-FAN), the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. She has served as the chair of the Federation Advisory Council and as a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Executive Committee. She is an alumni of the Nebraska LEAD program and served as a member of the Cattlemen’s Ball Advisory Board. Recently, Bosshamer was recognized as the newest UNL Bock & Bridle honoree. 

“Ann Marie brings unmatched energy and dedication to the Nebraska Beef Council,” said Greg Ibach, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. “Her passion for the beef industry is evident through her commitment to all Nebraska beef producers.”

Bosshamer graduated from UNL in 1992 with a degree in diversified agriculture. After a short time as a Nebraska Extension assistant in Lancaster County, she began her career with the Nebraska Beef Council on August 7, 1996 as Director of Consumer Affairs. She later transitioned into Director of Retail and Foodservice before becoming the Director of Marketing. In 2006 she was promoted to her current position as the Executive Director for the organization.

Bosshamer grew up on the family farm near David City. She and her husband Brian raise cattle near Amherst along with their two daughters, Brooke and Breanna.

Nebraska Beef Council Announces New Directors

Adam Wegner, Director of Marketing

Kearney, NE (August 10, 2016) – The Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors approved the following results of the 2016  Board of Directors Elections:

District 1- Ivan Rush, a cow-calf producer from Scottsbluff, NE.  District 1 includes the counties of Sioux, Dawes, Box Butte, Sheridan, Scotts Bluff, Banner, Kimball, Morrill, Garden, Cheyenne, and Deuel.  This will be Rush’s first four-year term on the board.  

District 3- Doug Temme, a dairy operator from Wayne, NE.  District 3 includes the counties of Cedar, Dixon, Dakota, Pierce, Wayne, Thruston, Madison, Stanton, Cuming and Burt.  This will be Temme’s first four-year term on the board.  

District 5- George Cooksley, a cow/calf producer from Anselmo, NE.   District 5, includes the counties of Custer, Garfield, Valley, Greeley, Sherman, Buffalo, Hall and Howard.  This will be Cooksley’s first four-year term on the board.  

District 7- William “Buck” Wehrbein, a feedyard operator form Waterloo, NE.  District 7 includes the counties of  Nance, Merrick, Hamilton, York, Polk, Platte, Colfax, Butler, Dodge, Saunders, Washington, Douglas, Cass and Sarpy.  This will be Wehrbein’s second four-year term on the board.  District 9- Jeff Rudolph, a feedyard operator from Gothenburg, NE.  

District 9 includes the counties of Dawson, Frontier, Gosper, Phelps, Kearney, Red Willow, Furnas, Harlan and Franklin. This will be Rudolph’s first four-year term on the board.   The new board members will take office on January 2, 2017.

Beef on the Big Island

Adam Wegner, Director of Marketing

Beef was front and center April 3-5 at the American Culinary Federation (ACF) 2016 ChefConnect: Hawaii Conference, held at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott on the Big Island of Hawaii. State beef councils from Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas pool checkoff dollars and resources annually to have a presence at this and other regional ACF conferences to keep beef top of mind with this audience of chefs, chef instructors, culinary students and other foodservice industry professionals. 

At ChefConnect: Hawaii, beef hosted 60 conference attendees on a historic cattle ranch tour narrated by Hawaii Beef Industry Council Managing Director, Dale Sandlin. Sandlin told of the rich history and current status of beef production in the Hawaiian Islands. Tour stops included the Paniolo Heritage Center, Parker Ranch, Ponoholo Ranch and Kahua Ranch. Tours such as this are vital to help chef audiences understand modern beef production from pasture to plate as they many times are the trusted voice consumers turn to for information on beef and the beef industry.

Additionally, at ChefConnect: Hawaii, 50 influencers were present for an education session, Beef: Making the Grade from Grass to Grain, presented by Chef Patrick Mitchell, Executive Chef, Ben E. Keith Foodservice, Dallas, Texas; and Chef Jack Bretzke, Chef Consultant, Ben E. Keith Foodservice, Tyler, Texas. Topics covered included the beef life cycle, grades of beef and different beef production methods including grain-finished, grass-finished, natural and organic. Attendees then were walked through a tasting exercise where they sampled four different beef samples and scored them on taste, tenderness and juiciness. After the tasting, the beef represented in each sample was revealed (Prime, High Choice, Low Choice and grass-finished) so attendees could evaluate how the amount of marbling and production method affects eating attributes. The beef checkoff supports all types of beef, so this exercise allowed chefs to try various beef products in a safe zone, where no specific product is being sold and the preference is left to each individual’s taste.

Earlier this year, the beef checkoff was present at ACF ChefConnect: Atlanta where 40 culinary professionals attended an education session, Trends Come and Go – Beef is Here to Stay, presented by NCBA Executive Chef Dave Zino. The session examined the latest trends in the foodservice arena -- from ingredients, to menu trends, to the Grocerant concept -- and showcased how beef fits into them all. Chef Dave also explained how consumer demand for beef is at an all-time high and how as beef prices begin to stabilize, it is primetime to showcase beef in a multitude of flavor profiles and give customers the protein they crave. 

2016 marks the eighth year the beef checkoff has participated in ACF regional and national conferences, which has resulted in numerous state connections being formed and education opportunities created and implemented as a follow-up to these meetings.