“I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.” -Bill Gates

The South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) continues to engage in research at multiple levels towards beef innovation to help grow global beef demand and have a product ready to meet the needs of the consumer no matter where they live. Checkoff funded projects, set in motion by state beef councils and the Beef Promotion and Operating Committee in the 1990’s, helped the industry respond to depressed prices for the beef round and chuck, and developed new value-added cuts to meet consumer needs, both in retail and foodservice.  A stringent, scientific process to analyze individual muscles in the chuck and round identified those with marketable value beyond their traditional use.  Through technical development and targeted marketing programs, these, “diamonds in the rough” became the new “value-added cuts”.

This research has continued to inspire many of our state funded programs and events. South Dakota State University’s Dr. Keith Underwood and Dr. Amanda Blair’s BBQ Bootcamps educate students and consumers about beef cuts, as well as harvest, fabrication, processing, and preparation of beef. The meat lab has the unique ability to provide participants with a focused view of the “product” side of the beef industry (humane beef handling processes, safety, fabrication, processing, and nutritional value).  This program introduces consumers to value-added cuts, educates them on safe meat handling, retail cut selection, new beef cuts, grilling, smoking, cookery methods, degrees of doneness, as well as rubs and marinades.

"The beef checkoff plays a vital role in efforts to strengthen the beef industry by providing support for both beef research and educational programming,” said Dr. Amanda Blair. “This investment by producers allows us to share the message of beef’s quality, value, and versatilely to consumer audiences. One of the outcomes we strive for with the BBQ Bootcamp program is to improve consumer perceptions of beef and build demand.”

SDBIC also partnered with the Federation of State Beef Councils to complete nutrient data base research to develop the value-added cuts in the new Beef Alternative Marketing (BAM) program—a merchandising program to assist retailers meeting consumer demands by offering smaller, more economical lean cuts.

A checkoff-funded, “Beef Value-Added Cuts” workshop at Mitchell Technical Institute introduced culinary students to the fabrication of the shoulder clod and chuck roll portions of the carcass into value cuts; including the Flat Iron, Ranch Steak and Denver Cut. 

The checkoff is committed to ensuring the most accurate and up-to-date beef nutrient data be available in the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS). Scientists and government agencies use this database of foods to determine the relationship among foods, nutrients, and health. Federally funded nutrition education and food programs are based on information derived from the FNDDS.  For these reasons, the SDBIC partnered with the Federation of State Beef Councils to ensure this data reflected beef’s 20% decrease in fat content since the early 80’s.  Fat content of beef has significantly decreased over the past 30 years due to closer trim and reduced internal fat of the carcass resulting in today’s lean beef. These improvements in the federal nutrition databases enhances beef’s nutrient-rich image among scientists and health professionals.

Market research tells us our consumers are looking for factual information to guide their food choices.  Our role as an SDBIC beef team is to ensure consumers have accurate information at their fingertips.  The next. “Beyond the Plate” will dive into market research and share how the SDBIC uses this research to guide promotional activities.

Do you have questions? We want to hear from you. These “Beyond the Plate” articles are designed to address your questions, share South Dakota checkoff stories, and highlight industry impacts. For more information on the SDBIC and the beef checkoff contact Suzy Geppert, Executive Director, SDBIC. For national program efforts visit www.beefboard.org.