Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Young people telling the real story about beef

The Southern Women's Show was held in Raleigh at the NC State Fairgrounds this past weekend.  The NC Beef Council set up a booth at the three-day event to help educate the public about how beef can be an important part of a healthy diet.  Representatives from the NC beef industry passed out numerous educational  pieces and recipes.  And if there happened to be a man that would stroll by among all of the women in attendance, it wasn't too uncommon to see them pick up the grilling recipes!  One information sheet that seemed to be very popular was the beef selection guide, which shows the different cuts and where they come from on the carcass.   

NC Beef Ambassadors share beef information with a consumer.

As I observed  Rossie Blinson (picture left in the middle), 2011 NC Beef Ambassador, and my daughter, Kaylyn (right), who is the 2011 NC Junior Beef Ambassador, I enjoyed seeing how enthusiastic they were to share beef information with show participants by using their Master of Beef Advocacy skills.  There was just a couple of anti-meat bullies that booth workers had to handle, but beef representatives held their own by showing respect, tactfulness and a willingness to educate them about "the facts" of beef nutrition and production. 

Two ladies that stopped by the booth asked a question to Kaylyn about family farming in general.  They had questions about the large operations they see in North Carolina, particularly with hogs.  I chimed in on the conversation since I know a bit about hog production.  Like many beef producers, my family also has experience in other livestock areas.  For example, I grew up on a farrow-to-finish hog farm in Ohio, and my father is still involved in the pork industry today in Michigan.  So when it comes to talking about or eating meat products, we certainly don't discriminate.  I went on to explain to the ladies that 98 percent of U.S. farms are family owned.  They didn't realize this is the case, and it took a minute for it to sink in.  Once I explained how vertical integration works and that the large barns they see are a part of how modern farming is done today on many family farms; you could see the light bulb go on in their eyes.  It is amazing how much you can teach someone in about two minutes to help keep them positive about agriculture.  They appreciated the conversation and as they started to walk away, they said, "By the way, we love eating beef!"  

So do we, my dears, so do we!     

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