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Beef Checkoff Hosts Social Influencers on #BEefTogether Tour

K. Brosnan | October 31, 2018

New York Beef Council provides beef knowledge from pasture to plate. The New York Beef Council, through continued support and funding from the South Dakota Beef Council, hosted social influencers from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania in Canandaigua, NY for a two-day “BEefTogether” immersion tour. 

Attendees travelled from all throughout New York State to experience a “boots-on-the-ground” look into the beef industry. Event attendees had the opportunity to tour Spring Pond Farm in Branchport to learn about the important role cow-calf operators in beef’s journey from pasture to plate. The bloggers learned about the breeding process and the many production decisions that go into breeding season. The farm tour also discussed feed options and productions, herd health and management, as well as animal handling. A few of the attendees had the opportunity to jump into the action and vaccinate a few young bulls who were preparing to leave the farm to be tested.    

Lunch on the farm included delicious beef brisket and additional discussion about beef and its nutritional benefits. Cindy Chan-Phillips, RD and Director of Nutrition Education with NYBC highlighted the essential nutrients found in beef and discussed the nutritional differences in types of beef. During this time bloggers had an opportunity to sift through the many different types of beef and marketing labels associated with different production practices. When asked how the tour made them think differently about beef one attendee shared how powerful the discussion was in shaping her beef knowledge and confidence. “I have a better understanding of the nutritional benefits of beef in our diets. I can now write more informative recipes with accompanying information for my readers. I have a much better knowledge of how beef can be part of a heart-healthy diet. Visiting the farms and talking with the farmers and their nutritionists was amazing. The love of their animals and land is incredible. When I share information with my readers about my beef recipes, I am now able to incorporate my experiences with the farmers and the knowledge they shared with my readers. My recipes are geared to families who enjoy real food. After sending time talking to Cindy, the nutritionist, I am more educated and confident about how to share the benefits of eating beef.”   

Attendees then toured Mike Beach’s located in Arkport, NY. The tour was a unique opportunity to tour a New Yorkstyle feedlot. The majority of the beef raised on the farm are Holstein and the bull calves are raised from a few days old to finish. The tour discussed facility management, cattle nutrition, as well as, animal health and handling. 100% of attendees reported that the feedlot tour was very informative in their post-tour survey. One influencer reflected on her experience, “I have been taught so much that I don't have concerns regarding the raising, health, treatment of cattle other than I do care that it is done in the best interest of all. From what I have seen, farmers are passionate about what they do and care about their animals. It was nice that it was brought up several times, "what do you hear?” what we heard were happy, content silent cattle.”   

The day was wrapped up with a unique, behind-the-scenes tour of wine production in the Finger lakes region. Attendees had the opportunity to tour the Hazlitt Cellar facility in Naples and raved about the interesting tour and information shared by Hazlitt’s wine experts. The tour was followed by a steak dinner.    

Day two, started early at the NY Kitchen in Canandaigua, NY.  The group had the special privilege to have Joan Ruskamp, CBB Chairman, along with them for both days of the event. Day 2 included a view of beef production in the Midwest by visiting producer Joan Ruskamp of Nebraska. NYBC staff also presented a presentation on Umami and Beef Flavor. The afternoon portion of the program included some fun and hands-on cutting led by local Collegiate Culinary Instructor, Patrick Rae. Patrick is a long-time friend of the NYBC and a member of the New York State Top of the Class. Patrick volunteers his time which drastically reduced the cost of the session. Blogger were each provided with a Rib 112A subprimal, knife, and cutting glove. Patrick led the bloggers step by step through the breakdown of the rib. At the conclusion of the tour each blogger was also sent home with the beef they cut.   

Overall the program received positive reviews from guests and hosts alike. Christina from @ItsAKeeper stated, “After meeting with area NY farmers, I have a much better understanding of what goes into beef production. The dedication and passion of area farmers to the beef industry was incredible. I now have a much better appreciation of all that goes into producing high quality, flavorful and nutritious beef.”