News Update
March 19, 2010

Branded Beef Panel to Take Place at GCA Convention

Georgia Angus Association (GAA) members are invited to the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Convention & Beef Expo for a special panel discussion titled “Adding Value by Hitting a Branded Beef Target.” Come and hear representatives from Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB), Certified Hereford Beef and Laura’s Lean Beef as they describe how commercial cattlemen can produce calves that will fit their specifications. Learn about the increased profit potential when selling cattle into these programs. This session will conclude with an opportunity for the audience to ask questions of these beef marketing leaders. The representative for the Certified Angus Beef program will be Mark McCully, assistant vice president of production. This discussion will take place Friday, April 2, from 9 a.m.-10 a.m. at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, Ga.

After this special event, plan to stay for the Southeastern Angus Showcase Sale. Thirty GAA members have consigned 60+ lots of superior Angus cattle and genetics. The sale will begin at noon Friday, April 2, in the Multipurpose Building at the Georgia National Fairgrounds. If you have not received the sale book in the mail, it can be viewed on GAA’s web site at or in the sale book section on the Angus Journal web site.

For more information, contact Christy Page, Georgia Angus Association, at 706-387-0656 or

— Release by the GAA.

CBA Supports Transparency in Nutrition Labeling

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) submitted comments today in support of a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to require nutrition labeling of meat products.

“As an industry, it’s our responsibility to provide accurate information about the nutritional value of our products — because consumers have a right to make educated decisions about the food they purchase for their families,” said Steve Foglesong, NCBA president. “Cattlemen and the beef industry have a great story to tell, especially when it comes to the nutritional value of our product, and we’re fully committed to transparency as we continue to meet growing consumer demand for high-quality beef.”

If finalized, the rule would amend the federal meat and poultry products inspection regulations to require nutrition labeling of major cuts of single-ingredient, raw meat and poultry products. FSIS specifically requested comments on “lean percentage” labeling requirements and point-of-purchase vs. product labels.

NCBA supports the mandatory inclusion of both “lean percentage” and “fat percentage” on all ground meat labels. The Beef Checkoff has funded consumer research that indicates both designations are important to consumers as they decide which ground beef products to purchase. NCBA also supports requiring nutrition information to be displayed on ground beef packages, rather than at the point-of-purchase. Fat content is often hard to visualize in ground products, which is why beef producers believe it’s most beneficial to have the nutrient content easily accessible on the Nutrition Facts Panel on the package.

NCBA continues to encourage FSIS to work with all stakeholders as this rule moves forward in being finalized and implemented in the marketplace. Cattlemen have long supported the inclusion of beef’s complete nutrient profile on beef products, as the information is helpful for consumers to make educated purchasing decisions. NCBA’s comments continue to encourage FSIS to include nutrient information on the label that is helpful to consumers. The comments can be found at: Nutrition Labeling Comments - March 2010.

Calorie for calorie, beef is one of the most naturally nutrient-rich foods there is. A three-ounce serving of lean beef is considered an excellent source of: protein, zinc, vitamin B, selenium and phosphorus; and a good source of niacin, vitamin B, iron, choline and riboflavin. Twenty-nine cuts of beef meet government guidelines for lean, with less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3-ounce serving. Research also suggests that high-quality protein plays an increasingly important role in weight management, muscle development and maintenance, and disease prevention.

“As producers, processors and marketers of the nation’s beef supply, we’re committed to providing safe, wholesome, nutritious beef products, and to communicating accurate information about beef’s nutritional qualities and the role of beef in a healthful diet,” Foglesong said.

— Release by NCBA.

National Beef Ambassadors Host Earth Day Photo Contest

Have you heard something in the media lately that has made you think more about the importance of your agriculture story? The National Beef Ambassadors, funded in part by the beef checkoff, can help you spread your message. The “Farmers and Ranchers Care” Earth Day Photo Contest will help you share with consumers and fellow producers how you, as cattle ranchers and beef producers, care for the environment in your ranching practices. This contest will begin Saturday, March 20, National Agriculture Day. In order to share the importance of the beef industry’s positive involvement with the environment, you will have the chance to share your photos on the National Beef Ambassador Facebook page. For rules and prize information, click here.

For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit

For more information about the National Beef Ambassadors, contact Carol Abrahamzon at

— Release by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.

Rural Organizations Call for Health Care Reform

On March 19, three national rural organizations — the National Rural Health Association, National Farmers Union and Center for Rural Affairs — called on members of the House and Senate to pass health care reform that works for rural America.

“Family farmers, ranchers and rural small business owners have faced some of the sternest challenges under the current health care system. And the economic future of our rural communities hinges on addressing those challenges. It’s time for the House and Senate to pull together and send this bill to the President,” said Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union.

The delivery of the letter comes at a time when Congressional leaders are working to shore up support for final passage of health care reform among Representatives who are considered “swing votes,” many of whom hail from predominantly rural districts.

“Rural America needs both affordable coverage and access to care. It doesn’t matter if you have insurance coverage if you don’t have a doctor in your community. The health care bill not only will cover 95% of the uninsured, but it will go far in addressing major workforce shortages in rural America. Rural America needs health care reform now,” said Dennis Berens, president of the National Rural Health Association.

According to the letter, health care access for rural people will be strengthened through the establishment of health insurance exchanges for the self-employed and small businesses. And premium assistance will be provided through tax credits for small businesses and for low and moderate income individuals purchasing insurance through the exchange. The letter also contains a list of provisions in current legislation of great importance to farmers, ranchers, rural small businesses and rural health care providers.

“If Congress fails to act, by 2019 one in three rural Americans in towns of 2,500 people or fewer will go without health insurance. Rural America’s farmers, ranchers, small businesses and communities cannot afford to wait another decade for health care reform. It’s time for Congress to act decisively and move reform forward,” urged Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs.

Center for Rural Affairs research has found that, under the current health care system, rural people suffer higher rates of uninsurance and underinsurance, higher rates of chronic disease, and an older and sicker population than the majority of the country.

— Release by the National Farmers Union.

— Compiled by Mathew Elliott, assistant editor, Angus Productions Inc.

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