Report notes improvement being made by cattle industry

A beef checkoff-funded report is highlighting the commitment cattle producers demonstrate in the areas of animal welfare, beef quality, sustainability and community involvement. The Cattlemen’s Stewardship Review gathers data from an independent 2017 telephone survey of beef producers to deliver a comprehensive profile of the U.S. beef community today. The report and survey were coordinated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.

The report compares to a 2010 checkoff-funded benchmark survey. It shows that improvements have been made in all four of the cattle industry areas studied. In addition to a national news release to national media outlets, the report and information from it are being presented to key national media by the NCBA communications team, as a beef checkoff contractor.

“We want consumers to know we aren’t just farmers and ranchers, but also animal caretakers, nutritionists, small business owners, environmentalists and members of our communities,” said Joan Ruskamp, part owner of J & S Feedlot in Nebraska and Cattlemen’s Beef Board chairman. “This report is a way to benchmark our progress, celebrate our successes and identify opportunities for improvement.”

Among the findings of the survey, conducted by Aspen Research of a proportionate number of producers to the Agricultural Census, are:

The well-being of cattle is the top priority for 95 percent of producers. That commitment is demonstrated by the fact that the Beef Quality Assurance program influences more than 80 percent of the U.S. fed cattle supply, according to BQA managers;

Ninety-seven percent of cattle farmers and ranchers believe producing safe beef is crucial to the future of the industry. Producing the best beef possible is supported by nearly a century of research-based improvements funded by the industry in nutritional value, beef quality and safety assurance;

About 95 percent of producers say conservation of land is extremely important to them, while 86 percent manage their operations in a way that protects the quality of natural resources, including wildlife and biodiversity; and

Beef is produced in all 50 states by a diverse group of men and women of all ages who have different backgrounds and production methods, but who share the same core values. The CSR found that more than nine of ten cattle operations are family owned, and 78 percent of farmers and ranchers say they intend to pass their operations on to future generations—with 58 percent of current operations being in the family for at least three generations.

“When consumers understand the level of care that goes into the production of their beef, they feel better about enjoying it,” said Ruskamp. “This report helps show that our attention to the needs of our animals, land and relationships parallel the concern our customers have for the beef they eat.”

To access the full report, visit