From the Field: May is National Beef Month

From the Field is a bi-monthly column written by Mark Campbell, Farm Bureau Field Services Director for the Central District. He writes about Farm Bureau member benefits and County Farm Bureau activities.

It’s hard to believe it is May already. The old adage about time going by quicker as we get older is true. While May is when hay making season starts, temperatures in the mid-80s the past few days served as a wakeup call to get the hay equipment out of the sheds and out into the fields.
May is also national beef month and is the beginning of grilling season. Food today encompasses many thoughts and discussions other than just sustenance. In addition to nutrition; consumers consider source, brand, integrity, how it was raised, genetics, technology, price, humane treatment and even environmental impact.
This morning I read this article that came through my email. It is an interesting perspective of a former vegetarian that is also a registered dietician/nutritionist. I give her credit for not only allowing herself to once again enjoy a tasty steak, but she researched her misconceptions for herself. Here is the link. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2015/04/16/the-other-side-of-the-beef-is-bad-story.

She is not alone as many more consumers have misconceptions about beef and other foods. To make matters more complex, the national dietary guidelines advised in one generation to stay away from certain foods like eggs because of cholesterol and then a generation later are now heralded as a great protein source. The same goes for beef. It was bad for your heart. Now beef has been proven to lower bad cholesterol in the Beef in an Optimum Lean Diet (BOLD) study. This year for the first time in history the dietary guidelines factored in environmental impact. These are supposed to be dietary guidelines for nutrition, but the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee delved into environment and sustainability which is considered by many as being beyond the committee’s expertise. I don’t know if the federal dietary guidelines carry as much credibility with the general public as they used to, but the guidelines can still be far reaching as they are considered by federal food programs such as school lunches, nutritionists, and doctors.
So if your food product is being misportrayed, what are you to do? Most all of the commodity groups have lots of factual information for you to use as a resource to share with your doctor, neighbors, and others. These resources are backed by credible research and can be a reliable source for those you may be trying to educate or influence. This can be comforting to the consumer who is bombarded with conflicting messages on a regular basis.
There are also great testimonials on the internet such as https://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.comwhich is a blog by Anne Burkholder. She was raised in an urban setting, but is now an influential leader in the beef industry. Doing a little research of my own, I went to www.beefitswhatsfordinner.comand there was a lot of good information for consumers. The recipes looked good and gave me some new ideas to use ground beef. The www.incredibleegg.org is another good website.  I could go on. But if you have not done so, take a look at your commodity’s website. It can be a great resource to refer someone to if you get questions. Happy grilling.
Until next time,

Mark

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