This year’s attendees included dietitians, food bloggers, chefs, and schoolteachers who travelled from California, New York, Tennessee, Maryland, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania to learn about the beef production process. The attendees were selected through the help of other state Beef Councils and were identified for their ability to impact a larger group of people through their networks. The tour helps explain the beef lifecycle and how producers across the country work together to get beef from pasture to plate.
The tour started with a visit to Loseke Farms new Columbus where the attendees got to see corn and silage being harvested. They learned how corn is utilized to produce highly marbled and flavorful beef. The group then visited RB Angus near Newman Grove where they learned how the beef lifecycle begins and the importance of genetics when raising cattle for beef. The tour continued to Columbus Livestock Pavilion to explain how cattle trade hands within the various sectors of the industry. The next stop was at Grass Valley Farms, a feedyard near David City where the group learned how cattle are finished on grain rations giving the beef desired flavor & tenderness.
“Everyone is always amazed at how well cared for the animals are and how the feedyard setting actually allows for efficiencies that reduce the use of natural resources and the impact on the environment,” said Adam Wegner, director of marketing for the Nebraska Beef Council. “There were a lot of comments on how much more room the cattle had and how content they were.”
The final stop of the tour was a visit to Greater Omaha Packing where cattle are processed and shipped to restaurants and grocery stores around the world. Much like the experience at the feedyard, the attendees were amazed by the efficiency, the attention to animal welfare, and the safety practices in place to ensure a safe, wholesome product for the consumer.
“Giving these folks this hands-on experience hopefully helps them recognize some of the misinformation that’s out there so they can help us share the true story of beef production,” said Wegner. “We’ll continue to be a resource for these folks as they go back to their jobs and interact with consumers. These are valuable relationships that help us build confidence with consumers and where their food comes from.”
The Nebraska Beef Council is a non-profit organization served by a nine-member board of directors. The volunteers oversee the beef checkoff in Nebraska and checkoff-funded programs. Programs for marketing and promotion are funded by the $1/head beef checkoff.