Georgia’s Beef Board is joining state organizations across the country to celebrate beef during May. Just over one-third of the farm gate value generated by the livestock and aquaculture sector within Georgia’s agriculture economy comes from beef cattle. That amounts to $496 million, according to the most recent figures accumulated by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

According to the Wisconsin Beef Council:“Cattle have an upcycling superpower — with their unique four-compartment stomach, cattle upgrade plants that are of little to no nutritional value to people into high-quality protein, micronutrients and other important byproducts. There are a number of cattle byproducts that we use every day: from chewing gum to lipstick, cosmetics to asphalt, and shoes to wallets, all contain an ingredient that started with the cow! In addition, real beef supplies 10 essential nutrients at 10% or higher than their respective daily values per serving that support a healthy lifestyle, including protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins.”

Iowa Beef Industry Council adds: “The beef industry is constantly under attack from animal rights activists and faulty science that claims it is bad for our health. That couldn't be further from the truth. Many claim that the saturated fat from beef increases the risk of heart disease, but studies have shown that this saturated fat can actually lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and maintain a healthy level of HDL (good) cholesterol. Each American, on average, eats 1.7 ounces of beef per day. This falls well within the USDA's recommendations for a healthy lifestyle, proving that any healthy food should be consumed in a moderate manner. Overindulgence on any one food group can cause issues, yet you won't find critics pointing that out. While small segments of the U.S. population continue to make noise about living vegan lifestyles, such as those who push Meatless Mondays at schools and those who demonize beef consumption, the fact of the matter is that beef is an affordable, delicious and (most importantly) healthy addition to a well-rounded diet. The point is, there is plenty to celebrate when it comes to beef. It continues to gain strong support from those who accept its scientifically-proven benefits, and will remain a key component of the American diet for future generations.”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Board points out: “Summer months and backyard barbecues go hand-in-hand. As consumers fire up the grill, they have numerous protein options, but beef continues to be the top choice at the grocery store. The Beef Checkoff will celebrate Beef Month this May — an unofficial kickoff to grilling season.”

“Research shows consumers are looking for new recipes to add variety to their dinner tables. One of the great things about beef is that there’s a grilling cut for every budget and the cut variation allows for dinner to taste great every time,” said Sharla Huseman, director of marketing at Kansas Beef Council.

Like many state organizations, including Georgia’s Beef Board, the Kansas Beef Council promotes a library of beef recipes on their website. From steaks and ribs to kabobs and carnitas, consumers will find a plethora of delicious recipes to choose from at dinnertime. Recipes go beyond just the protein and include a side dish to complete the meal.

Georgia Beef Board’s recipe website (www.georgiabeef.org/recipes) includes instructions for dishes from chili to meals with a Southern influence. Slow cooker recipes and heart-healthy items are featured. There are even instructional videos describing preparation of burgers, steaks and more.

Georgia-raised cattle descend from stock in Europe, Africa and South America. Breeds including Angus, Charolais and Simmental are the cornerstone of the multimillion-dollar Georgia beef industry.

Economic impact of beef in Georgia

Georgia cattlemen own approximately 1.3 million head of cattle. Cash receipts approaching $300 million make cattle the state's sixth-largest commodity. Because cattle are raised in all 159 counties of Georgia, the beef industry has a large impact on the state's economy. In Georgia there are almost 18,000 producers of beef cattle.

As you enjoy the outdoors this May, consider adding the preparation of beef as part of the celebration. As you do, be grateful for the farmers and ranchers in Georgia and across the nation that work hard to provide a safe, nutritious and delicious product!

Roger Gates is the agricultural and natural resources agent for University of Georgia Extension, Whitfield County. Contact him at roger.gates@uga.edu.

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