July 9, 2012

Red meat growth promotants and exports

By Jessica Clowser, USMEF Intern
Jessica ClowserThe subject of sustainability has increasingly become a popular topic among those of us who raise and produce food. Innovative technology, such as growth promotants in the form of implants and beta-agonists are incorporated in livestock production, allowing producers to maximize inputs and still produce a safe and wholesome product to “feed the masses”. These technologies are a necessity in order to feed a world which is growing exponentially.

Now, there are markets which refuse to accept hormone treated cattle, i.e. the EU. This opens a special niche market for specific producers who choose to raise non-hormone treated cattle and thus are paid a premium for their product. What gets under my skin, is the falsification by media that hormone treated beef and beef that has been fed beta-agonists is “poison.” At USMEF, I am included on a list-serve our international directors use to give reports on current events and issues taking place in their specific countries and locations. Taiwan has currently been in an uproar regarding U.S. beef that has been fed beta-agonists. The minority party refers to this beef as poison and the majority party continues to state it’s safe. This is an excellent example of how U.S. beef is used in politics internationally; it’s been fascinating to see how it has all unfolded.

During the last month, it’s becoming more and more evident to me how aware USMEF is regarding ALL issues taking place in numerous countries and markets. The international markets do a fabulous job informing everyone in Denver about any and all issues which may affect our ability to market and export red meat. It’s been exciting to witness this dedication to the U.S. red meat industry.

I recently attended a joint meeting in Loveland hosted by the CO Cattlemen’s, Livestock Association, Cattlewomen’s, and Pork Producers. This was a great networking venture and really exposed me to issues affecting Colorado’s agriculture. My favorite speaker discussed what consumers are looking for when going to the grocery store to purchase beef. She is from New York City and manages a firm which specifically monitors and documents consumer behaviors. During her speech, she showed real footage of real consumers and their thoughts on beef. Consumers want words like “traditional beef” instead of “conventional beef,” they don’t like to be told “organic is better,” and finally, they want traceability. This information is extremely beneficially to all beef producers, packers, and retailers; it’s important for us to listen to our consumer in order to satisfy their needs.

On a side note, one of my college friends came out to Colorado for vacation. The two of us toured Coors-Miller brewery, where we sampled some of Coors’ fine beers and toured a little of Golden, CO. We then ventured onto Idaho Springs for some famous Beau Jo’s Pizza. For anyone traveling to Colorado, find out if there is a Beau Jo’s located along your route or around your final destination, it’s amazing! Whoever decided to put honey on pizza crust deserves a medal.

The drive through the mountains was gorgeous! I have never driven west of Denver; the Rocky Mountains definitely took my breath away! Our final destination was Vail where we hiked, shopped, and explored the town for the rest of the weekend. My favorite activity was riding the Gondola all the way to the top of mountain and enjoying the fantastic view.

However, there was a constant haze over Vail from the numerous wildfires igniting all across the state. To live in Colorado is an amazing experience, but the fires destroying Colorado’s beauty and the homes and livelihoods of so many people are absolutely devastating. Living in North Denver, I have seen a constant haze since the High Park Fire and the new Flagstaff Fire near Boulder have erupted. My thoughts and prayers go out to the brave firefighters, the people who have lost homes, and the ranchers who have lost precious grazing ground and livestock.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation is hosting Jessica Clowser of Seward, Neb., as their first summer intern supported by a partnership between the Nebraska Corn Board and USMEF. Jessica graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in December 2012 with a B.S. in Animal Science and recently returned from a semester internship with Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns in Washington, D.C. In Denver, Jessica will be assisting with promotions and international relationship opportunities.

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