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Agricultural News

OSU's Dr. Deb VanOverbeke Says Quality of US Beef Supply Improving, But Opportunities Remain

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 15:05:44 CDT

OSU's Dr. Deb VanOverbeke Says Quality of US Beef Supply Improving, But Opportunities Remain Data from the 2016 National Beef Quality Audit suggests the beef industry continues to improve the quality of its products, but there is still room for improvement. Results from the research were presented at a session during the 2017 Cattle Industry Summer Meeting in Denver, Thursday, by Oklahoma State University Associate Professor of Meat Science Dr. Deb VanOverbeke.

Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays was there to speak with VanOverbeke about the findings of this year’s audit. To hear his complete interview with VanOverbeke, click or tap the LISTEN BAR below.

The research, funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, has been conducted every five years for the past quarter century, and provides a set of guideposts and measurements for cattle producers and others to help determine quality conformance of the U.S. beef supply. NBQA results through the years have helped lead to improvements in cattle and beef production, including reductions in carcass blemishes and fewer lost opportunities related to branding and other practices.

Three key components, in areas to improve for the next five years, were identified this year, says VanOverbeke. 1.) food safety and animal health; 2.) eating satisfaction and the reduction of variability in carcasses; and 3.) optimizing value and reducing waste.

“Food safety comes out as the leading issue,” VanOverbeke said. “For those closest to the consumers, food safety is most important to them.”

But she explains that there is a disconnect between retailers and producers when thinking of food safety. For producers, food safety is practicing sound production methods, like those included in the Beef Quality Assurance program. For retailers, it is a safe eating experience for consumers.

To bridge this gap and ultimately work better together to produce the best possible product for consumers, VanOverbeke says, “we need to increase communication between the sectors of the beef value chain and to end users, and explain what we’re doing to improve food safety.”

Executive Director of Producer Education for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Josh White, agrees, insisting that broader communication highlighting the industry’s commitment to quality could potentially increase consumer trust, which could then translate into greater demand as well.

“The research proved the beef cattle industry has a great story to tell, but also suggests we aren’t getting that story to as many people as we should,” White said. “Utilizing the Beef Quality Assurance program and its principles more uniformly throughout the industry could not only enhance industry commitment to better beef, but would help increase consumer confidence and encourage greater beef demand. This research suggests that carrying the BQA message throughout the industry would benefit every beef audience.”

Since 1991, the Beef Quality Audit has served to identify similar challenges and opportunities in the industry. VanOverbeke steadfastly commends the work that has been done under the audit’s mission.

“To me the audit has been a tool and a great resource for the industry,” she said. “It’s kind of a guide to ‘here’s what our end users are expecting and wanting and here’s what we need to do at a production level to change those things to get them what they need.”

To read the 2016 National Beef Quality Audit executive summary click here.

Source - My Beef Checkoff



Listen to VanOverbeke and Hays discuss the findings of this year's Beef Quality Audit, click below
right-click to download mp3


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