ALBANY — The New York Beef Council, in partnership with New York Ag in the Classroom, hosted more than 75 guests over the course of four “Meat Your Beef” tours that spanned the state of New York.
Over the course of the week four tours were held with attendees ranging from registered dietitians, culinarians, teachers, and more. The tours discussed beef’s role in a sustainability diet, farm practices and various types of beef production. The tours were hosted at Rally Farms in Millbrook, NY, MMT Cattle Inc. in Fonda, NY, Shepard Settlement Farm in Marcellus, NY, and Meadowbrook Farms in Medina.
Cindy Chan-Phillips, RD, Director of Nutrition Education with New York Beef Council addressed attendee’s concerns and presented some of the latest research on beef’s role in a sustainable and nutritious diet. Many attendees were surprised to learn, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, greenhouse gas emissions from beef cattle only represents 2% of emissions in U.S.*. Tours of each operation also included discussion on cattle care, breeding and handling, as well as, feed stuffs and crop production. Following the tour attendees enjoyed lunch and learned more about decoding beef labels. Attendee post surveys revealed 67% of attendees strongly agreed that they could explain beef cattle production to a client/customer/friend compared to the 15% prior to the tour.
Two of the farm tours focused on the cow/calf sector of the industry while two tours included touring feedlots and took a closer look at the finishing phase. Post-surveys revealed that attendees left the tour feeling much more confident in their beef supply. Over 80% of attendees were not at all concerned or not very concerned regarding antibiotic use in cattle, humane treatment of cattle on farms and ranches, what cattle eat, and the differences in nutritional value of beef. In addition, 20% of attendees reported after the tour that they would eat more beef.
In recent years NYBC has partnered with NY Agriculture in the Classroom staff to provide continued education and instruction resources and inspiration to teachers looking to incorporate beef examples and knowledge into their teaching. Fifty percent of this year’s tour attendees were educators. It is important that the next generation of consumers understand where their food comes from and how beef is raised. Providing educators with the tools and information they need to accurately educate their students in essential. One attendee shared, “This tour was a great experience and very educational. I will be able to take the information and resources to use in my classroom and adapt some of my current lesson plans.”
The “Meat Your Beef” Farm to Fork tours have been made possible for the last eight years due to support from the South Dakota Beef Council. New York Beef Council Staff is proud to educate our consumers on behalf of the beef and dairy producers of NY and to serve as a resource to consumers relating to anything beef!
–New York Beef Council