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May Beef Month

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Iowa Beef Industry Council is pleased to announce that May is Beef Month in Iowa. Governor Chet Culver has signed the May Beef Month proclamation in recognition of the importance of Iowa's beef industry to the state's economy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Types of Beef

Conventional, Branded, Certified Organic, Grass-finished

I've heard a lot of about different types of beef. What does this mean?

There are essentially four types of beef produced by America's beef producers -- conventional,

branded, certified organic and grass-finished. Beef producers have production choices that allow them

to provide consumers with a variety of quality beef products to choose from. Because the U.S. beef

industry is consumer-focused and market-driven, consumer choices lead the industry's efforts.

Are all types of beef inspected for safety?

Yes. All beef, regardless of type, is subject to strict government oversight. U.S. procedures require

that all U.S. cattle be inspected by a USDA inspector or veterinarian before going to slaughter.

What kind of beef is typically found in grocery stores?

Most of the beef you see in your grocery store's meat case is conventional. Conventional beef comes

from cattle that are raised in pastures for the majority of their lives, typically 12 to 18 months, and

then are fed a grain-based diet designed to meet their nutritional needs for 120 to 200 days.

Why is the term "natural" used when referring to some types of beef?

Most fresh beef you find in the meat case is natural. Natural beef refers to beef that has been

minimally processed and contains no additives, which means no artificial flavors, colors or

preservatives. This definition applies to all meat that does not have an ingredient label (a label is

added if the product includes a marinade or solution). So, if there's no ingredient label, it is natural.

Some manufacturers use the term "natural" for marketing purposes. To determine exactly what a

producer of natural beef means by the use of the term natural, consumers should read the product

label or contact the manufacturer.

What is branded beef?

Branded beef products are marketed by a company based on the product specifications or production

standards required for their brand. A brand could be based on the breed of cattle or a name given to a

beef program that follows set specifications. Branded beef products are sold at restaurants and

grocery stores.

Are branded beef products inspected by the USDA?

Yes. All U.S. cattle are inspected by a USDA inspector or veterinarian. Some companies request

government approval of their product label through the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

while others ask the government to verify their brand specifications through the Agricultural

Marketing Service (AMS) process verification.

What is certified organic beef?

Certified organic beef must meet USDA National Organic Program standards. With the Organic

Foods Production Act, effective October 2002, USDA standards were set for all food labeled organic.

For beef, this means:

Cattle must be fed 100 percent organic feed, but may be provided certain vitamin and mineral

supplements.

Organically raised cattle may not be given hormones to promote growth or antibiotics for any

reason. However, if an animal is sick, the animal cannot be denied treatment to ensure its health;

any animal that is treated with antibiotics is taken out of the National Organic Program.

Practically all cattle, regardless of how they're raised meet the national organic standard that

requires ruminants to have access to pasture.

Organic beef must be certified through USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

Can organic beef be produced conventionally?

Yes. Some organic beef is conventionally produced, where cattle are raised in pastures for the

majority of their lives, typically 12 to 18 months, and then are fed a grain-based diet for

approximately for 120 to 200 days. However, these cattle must always comply with organic

standards.

What is grass-finished beef?

Grass-finished beef comes from cattle that have grazed in pastures their entire lives.

How is grass-finished beef different than conventional beef?

Conventionally produced beef comes from cattle that spend most of their lives on pasture but are

finished on a carefully balanced, grain-based diet. Grass-finished cattle are raised entirely on grass.

Does this mean that grass-finished beef is organic?

Grass-finished beef is not necessarily raised organically. Consumers can recognize organic products

by looking for the "USDA Certified Organic" label.

What are the benefits of grass-finished beef?

As a result of the forage-based diet grass-finished animals receive throughout their lives, grass-

finished beef tends to grade "Select," which means it has minimal intramuscular fat or marbling.

Conventional beef graded "Select" has the same level of leanness as grass-finished beef.

Grass-finished beef, on average, can contain as much as double the amount of CLA, a

polyunsaturated fatty acid that health professionals believe has cancer-fighting properties, which

is also found in other types of beef. However, it is not clear if there is a health benefit in this

difference. Further research is required.

In 2003, a University of Nebraska, Lincoln review of nine studies on tenderness concluded that

grass-finished cattle produce beef that is less tender than beef from grain-finished cattle (in both

shear force and taste panel testing).

The analysis of existing flavor panel studies also showed consumers preferred the overall flavor

of grain-finished beef compared to grass-finished beef. This study can be found at:

http://www.ianr.unl.edu/pubs/beef/mp80.p....

Are there lean beef options for each type of beef?

Consumers have lean beef choices no matter what type of beef they are purchasing.

29 cuts of beef meet government guidelines for lean (low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol) --

and they include some of Americans' traditional favorites like tenderloin, T-bone steak and 95

percent lean ground beef, as well as newer cuts such as, Western Griller steak and Ranch steak.

Leaner cuts are conveniently found in your local grocery store. Just look for the words "round"

and "loin" in the name, such as sirloin or round tip.

The Iowa Beef Industry Council is pleased to announce that May is Beef Month in Iowa. Governor Chet Culver has signed the May Beef Month proclamation in recognition of the importance of Iowa's beef industry to the state's economy. The Iowa Beef Industry Council is pleased to present the following proclamation.

Whereas Iowa is a major beef producing state with 3.9 million head of cattle on January 1, 2007; and

Whereas the beef industry contributes greatly to our economy by generating $5.1 billion annually, and creating jobs for nearly 40,000 Iowans; and

Whereas today's beef is a naturally nutrient-rich food providing protein, iron, zinc and B-vitamins; and

Whereas beef producers are the original environmentalists working to conserve the soil and making optimum use of natural resources; and

Whereas Iowa is a leader in the export of value-added agriculture products, shipping high-quality Iowa beef to other countries around the world; and

Whereas there is an ever-increasing need for better understanding of the benefits that the beef industry provides to all Iowan's;

Now therefore, I, Chet Culver, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby proclaim the month of May 2007 as Beef Month in Iowa, and urge all citizens to appreciate the contributions the beef industry continues to provide to our state.

Producer-directed and consumer-focused, the Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1-per-head beef checkoff. Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand. For more information, visit www.iabeef.org.

Iowa's Beef Cattle Industry Facts & Figures

Total Cattle Inventory in Iowa (as of January 1, 2007)3,950,000
State Rank All Cattle & Calves (January 1, 2007)Seventh
USDA Cattle on Feed in Iowa (January 1, 2007) 872,000
State Rank (Cattle and Calves on Feed (2007) Fifth
Yearly Marketing's (2006) 1,328,000
Percentage of U.S. Grain fed Beef produced in Iowa (2006)5.08%
Number of Feedlots (2006) 8,735
Number of Cattle Operations (2006) 31,000
Number of Farms with Beef Cows (2006) 25,000
Number of Beef Cows (as of January 1, 2007) 1,070,000
State Rank (Number of Beef Cows 2007) Tenth
Number of Farms with Dairy Cows (2006) 2,400
Number of Dairy Cows (as of January 1, 2007) 210,000
Cash Receipts from Cattle & Calves (2005)$2.425 Billion
Iowa Jobs Directly Related to the Cattle Industry12,866
Iowa Jobs Indirectly related to the Cattle Industry26,500
Corn Used in Beef Production (2005)165 mil bushels

Iowa's Beef Cattle Industry Facts & Figures

Total Cattle Inventory in Iowa (as of January 1, 2007)3,950,000
State Rank All Cattle & Calves (January 1, 2007)Seventh
USDA Cattle on Feed in Iowa (January 1, 2007)872,000
State Rank (Cattle and Calves on Feed (2007)Fifth
Yearly Marketing's (2006)1,328,000
Percentage of U.S. Grain fed Beef produced in Iowa (2006)5.08%
Number of Feedlots (2006)8,735
Number of Cattle Operations (2006)31,000
Number of Farms with Beef Cows (2006)25,000
Number of Beef Cows (as of January 1, 2007)1,070,000
State Rank (Number of Beef Cows 2007)Tenth
Number of Farms with Dairy Cows (2006)2,400
Number of Dairy Cows (as of January 1, 2007)210,000
Cash Receipts from Cattle & Calves (2005)$2.425 Billion
Iowa Jobs Directly Related to the Cattle Industry12,866
Iowa Jobs Indirectly related to the Cattle Industry26,500
Corn Used in Beef Production (2005)165 mil bushels

Iowa's Cattle Industry contributes

$5.1 Billion in business activity to Iowa's Economy

Sources: Economic Importance of Iowa's Cattle Industry, prepared for the Iowa Beef Industry Council by Department of Economics, Iowa State University, Iowa Agricultural Statistics, U.S. Department of Agriculture.



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