New York Beef Council, in partnership with the Iowa Beef Industry Council, live streamed a virtual farm tour connecting consumers to a New York cow-calf operation and an Iowa feedlot. The fifty-minute-long Facebook Live stream introduced attendees to Betsy Hicks of Maple Acres Farm located in McGraw, NY before virtually traveling to Nate Graham’s finishing lot in Cherokee County, Iowa.
The virtual tours included an overview of the beef life cycle including an up-close look at cow/calf pairs. The tour also introduced attendees to what cattle eat, and how farmers manage their land through rotational grazing. Additional topics discussed were cattle identification, record keeping, and herd health management. Graham Feedlots is a fourth-generation family farm that takes great care in producing high quality feed for their cattle and works to provide the highest quality care to their cattle which is highlighted throughout the tour.
Due to COVID-19 the trip was streamed live across Facebook and on the NYBC website allowing for students learning virtually, as well as, any interested consumer to watch. The trip hosted on June 11th has a reach of over 11,000 and been viewed 5,000 times with over 1,000 engagements on social media. A recording of the trip is available on Iowa Beef Council Facebook page and the New York Beef Council YouTube page.
This trip provides attendees with the especially unique opportunity to follow the beef lifecycle from birth to finish. New York is a high population state with over 19.6 million consumers and, despite being home to over 628,000 dairy cows, beef production in the state primarily focuses on the cow-calf segment or direct-to-consumer marketing. There are only 7,300 beef farms in NY. In contrast, Iowa is home to more cattle than people with a staggering 3,900,000 head of cattle in the state. Beef production in Iowa widely focuses on the finishing phase utilizing the prime crop land and corn production in the region.
“State to state partnerships such as the one the New York and Iowa Beef Council staff have is an crucial component of beef education and promotion to New York’s 19.6 million consumers,” shared Katherine Staiger, Director of Producer Communications and Influencer Outreach at NYBC, “support from high cattle population states, such as Iowa, allows for greater outreach connecting influencers and consumers to beef.”
Over the last two years NYBC has hosted six virtual field trips providing an opportunity for students and teachers to tour various beef farms throughout the state. These trips were made possible through support from Iowa Beef Council and the Beef Checkoff. Full recordings of each trip are available on the New York Beef Council YouTube Page.