August 29, 2012
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Published in the fall 2012 edition of Keystone Cattlemen

The Center for Beef Excellence (CBE) has set an aggressive agenda to work with industry partners to provide safe, highest quality, consumer friendly beef and beef products.   This focus of the CBE fifteen member board has allowed them to not only offer programming unique to CBE, but also to partner with varying segments and associations within the industry.  Following find a summary of several such activities.

Mont Alto Cattleman Curtis Koons’ recent connection with the PA Center for Beef Excellence (CBE) enabled him to process over 100 head of cattle with the use of the CBE mobile handling equipment. Koons said, “Beef quality is an important factor in my 350 head cattle operation.” The use of this equipment impacts beef quality, improves animal health, and promotes the message that Pennsylvania producers are improving methods used to produce a quality, safe product. This equipment is available for Pennsylvania’s producers looking for a way to improve their handling practices. According to Koons, the use of CBE’s portable equipment provided both economic and efficiency benefits. He relayed, “It is a valuable asset for producers.”  Cattlemen interested in using the equipment should contact Ann Nogan at 570-687-3150 or anogancbe@gmail.com

PA Center for Beef Excellence and cattle feeders visit the JBS Souderton facility.

The Cumberland Valley High School A-Day saw CBE partnering with the PA Beef Council to “beef” up the day for 400 fourth grade students. While at the beef station, students were given an RFID tag to hold while being scanned by the accompanying reader. They learned the importance of record keeping, proper nutrition, and good herd health. They also learned about products not typically associated with beef. The enthusiasm of the fourth grade participants mirrored the student leaders who were engaged in all aspects of the day. Cumberland Valley’s FFA chapter deserves congratulations for a job exceptionally well done. The group was organized and their enthusiasm set the tone for a day of learning. The beef exhibit was happy to host not only the students, but also State Representative Glen Grell.

CBE works with industry partners to develop marketing opportunities for the Pennsylvania Beef Industry. Recently the market has been driven by the strong influence of export markets, cattle supply and consumer demand. Darwin Nissley, CBE president and feedyard operator noted, “the need to educate producers on the value these opportunities have created is readily apparent.”

To that end, CBE board director Phil McMahon who also manages Erdenheim Farm in Lafayette Hill, PA, hosted a tour for CBE and a group of interested importers from the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) office in Singapore. USMEF's interest is to put US Meat on the world's table. They represented the countries of Singapore, Indonesia, Phillipines, Thailand and Vietnam.  USMEF was very interested in the beef and sheep facility of Erdenheim. Looking for quality and the need for an economically suited product, they see the US market as an opportunity for their respective companies. As importers, they got a great view of the best management practices utilized by the Pennsylvania producers.

Additionally, on June 29, 2012, representatives from JBS Souderton, the largest beef slaughter facility east of Chicago, provided the CBE Board with a facility tour as well as a meeting designed to increase understanding of market opportunities that JBS offers to producers and also to showcase improvements made at the Souderton facility.  This was all done with increasing markets and decreasing beef supply in mind.

Protecting and enhancing the freedom of producers to operate is also important to CBE. Working with state and national organizations to educate consumers and legislative representatives on the issues that affect cattlemen will not only preserve the future but will also allow for growth in the beef industry.  For more information about CBE, visit the web site at: www.beefexcellence.com.

The Center for Beef Excellence was established in 2007 to promote the beef industry through education, production efficiency, government and community relations, and economic development. Representing 28,000 beef producers in Pennsylvania with 1.61 million head of cattle, the industry generates over $2 billion in economic impact yearly in the Commonwealth. The Center for Beef Excellence is an equal opportunity provider.