« Agriculture

July Beef Month Important to dairy

by Mike Austin

Although Wisconsin is America's Dairyland it actually has more beef operations than dairy farms. According to John Frietag of the Wisconsin Beef Council over the past 25 years the Wisconsin beef industry has nearly doubled its size and while much of the industry has been shrinking because the impact of three consecutive years of drought, the Wisconsin beef cow heard has increased by more than 40%. Economically...the beef industry has grown to a 2 billion dollar plus economic engine for the state. And according to Frietag, besides the cow cull market, holstein steers are now giving the dairy farmer a strong additional source of income.

The current scenario for beef is a challenging one. With supplies at a 50 year low and consumer prices at record high levels one would think that demand would be down. However a report out of Kansas State University shows that consumption is actually up by 2% for the first half of 2014. One of the reasons according to Frietag is that both pork and poultry two other key sources of protein have both seen a rise in retail prices as well. Frietag also believes the beef check-off has done a great job in not only sharing with consumers the value of beef but also the many variety of beef cuts and serving options.

The industry has also changed its promotional focus. While holding on to its core consumers its also earmarked milinneals through social media on the benefits and options available through cooking, grilling and serving beef.

The check-off is also checking in expanding the U.S, share of the world market. Matter of fact during this very month efforts are underway to open more of theChinesemarket to U.S. beef. Lifting trade barriers to any and all U.S. beef cuts worldwide is a priority of the industry.