Goodness Grows In North Carolina
Beef Outline

Association Name Commodity History Regional Information Production
Packaging Shipping Buying Nutritional Information

I. Association Name: NC Cattlemen's Association and NC Cattlemen's Beef Council

A. Commodity Represented

B. Types of Commodity
Beef comes from a cow, but when sold, the commodity comes in many different forms. Beef is cut and sold as steak, roasts, ribs, briskets, and ground beef.

C. Is there a National Promotion Month for the Commodity? When?
June is National Beef Steak month and Beef month in North Carolina. June is the biggest month for Beef promotions. May is National Burger month.

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II. Commodity History

A. North Carolina Background
1. Is the animal originally from NC? Where in NC? Was it brought here from another area/country originally? Where?
There are many beef cattle breeds. Early settlers brought cows to North Carolina. Though the different types of cattle come from various parts of the world, they are all currently farmed in North Carolina.

The Angus cattle originated in the rugged highlands of northern Scotland, in the counties or "shires" of Aberdeen and Angus. In many parts of the world today Angus cattle are still known as Aberdeen-Angus. The first Angus bulls were imported into the U.S. in 1873 by George Grant, a native Scotsman, for use on his ranch near Victoria, Kansas.

The Beefmaster breed was developed in South Texas in the late 1930s from a crossing of Brahman, Hereford, and Shorthorn cattle. Beefmasters were recognized as a pure breed by the USDA in 1954. These cattle do not have a set color standard although the predominant colors are red and dun.

The Blonde D'Aquitaine originated in France and was first imported in the U.S. in 1972. They are extremely lean, low fat animals.

The Brahman breed originated in the U.S. from Indian humped cattle imported from India and Brazil in the late 1800s and the early 1900s. Gray and red are its predominant color patterns.

The Brangus breed originated in the U.S. when Cattlemen sought to combine the most desirable traits of Brahman and Angus into one animal. They are black in color.

The Braunvieh breed originated in the 18th century mountain valleys of Switzerland and first imported to the United States in 1869, becoming the foundation for the Brown Swiss breed in the U.S. It was reintroduced from Switzerland in 1983.

The Charolais breed was developed in the district around Charolles in Central France, where the French had been keeping performance and production records on them for more than 200 years. This solid white breed entered the U.S. in 1934 when the Mexican Secretary of Agriculture gave Mecum Michaelis of Kyle, Texas, two Charolais bulls.

The Chiangus is a cross between the Chianina and Angus breeds.

The Gelbvieh (Gelp-fee) breed originated in the Bavarian region of Germany. First introduced to the U.S. in 1971. They are basically solid in color, a fawn to medium red shad is the most prevalent.

The Limousin breed is native to South Central France and was imported into North America in 1968. They are either red or black.

The Hereford originated in England and were first imported to America in 1816 by Henry Clay of Kentucky. They are usually brownish red on the body with a distinctive white face with white markings on the neck, chest and underbelly.

The Maine-Anjou breed originated in northwest France, deriving its name from the Maine and Anjou river valleys. Fullblooded Maine-Anjou cattle are descendants of French Mancelle and English Durham bloodlines. Maine-Anjou were first imported into North America in 1969 and included both American and Canadian members.

The Red Angus breed is the red strain in the Aberdeen Angus cattle.

The Salers breed originated in France. Salers cattle were first imported to North America in 1972. They were originally solid red in color, but black families have been developed by breeders.

The Santa Gertrudis breed was developed on the King Ranch in South Texas. The selected combination of Shorthorn and Brahman produced this cherry red breed. It was recognized as an American breed in the USDA in 1940.

The Shorthorn breed originated in England and was imported into the U.S. to Virginia in 1783.

The Simmental breed, the second-most populous in the world, originated in the Simme Valley of Switzerland, and has spread to all six continents. The breed became established as a North American beef breed in 1967. Its color patterns vary from red and white spotted to fawn or straw-colored, to dark red, to black.

The Tarentaise breed is a pure breed from France dating back to 1888. They are moderate sized cattle which was introduced into the U.S. in 1973.

In 1493, Christopher Columbus brought Spanish cattle to Santa Domingo. These cattle became the foundation of the Texas Longhorn breed. They do not have a color standard but rather will range from light to dark and also from single to multiple colors.

2. When was it brought to NC?
Early settlers brought cows to North Carolina.

3. How was it brought to NC and by whom?
It was brought by the early settlers. North Carolina currently has 494,000 beef cows and 1,200,000 total head of commodity. North Carolina has 33,000 cattle producers. Nationally, the cattle industry is the largest segment of American agriculture, with over 1 million farmers and ranchers raising beef cattle.

4. Was it brought to a specific region? Is this the same region it is now mainly produced?
Cattle is raised throughout the state.

B. Uses
1. How is it used?
Beef is part of a healthful, balanced diet and provides many important nutrients. Beef's by-products are also used in a variety of products. Here are some of it's many uses:
When it's a meal (edible by-products)
collagen-based: sausage casings
blood: blood sausage, protein extracts
fatty acid-based: oleo margarine, oleo shortening, chewing gum
gelatin: ice cream, yogurt, candies, flavorings, marshmallows, mayonnaise
plasma protein: cake mixes, pasta, imitation seafood, deep-fry batters

When it's a household
You'd be surprised how many items you use everyday that contain by-products.
from fats/fatty acids & protein meals: candles, cellophane, ceramics, cosmetics, crayons, deodorants, detergent, insecticides, insulation, linoleum, perfumes, paints, plastics, shaving cream, soaps, textiles, pet foods, floor wax, horse and livestock feeds
from hide: leather sporting goods, luggage, boots & shoes
from collagen-based adhesives: bandages, wallpaper, sheet rock, emery boards, glues
from hooves & horns: tortoise shell, combs, imitation ivory, piano keys
from hair: artist's paint brushes
from gelatin: photographic film, phonographic record

When it's a pharmacy
The medical world relies on many by-products for medications and treatments.
from the pancreas: insulin for diabetes, pancreatin helps digestion, glucagon treats hypoglycemia, trypsin and chymotrypsin for burns and wounds
from the blood: blood plasma: fraction 1 for hemophilia, fraction V kills viruses, blood albumin for RH factor types, thrombin for a blood coagulant, iron for anemia
from the bone: bone marrow for blood disorders, soft cartilage for plastic surgery, bone meal as a calcium and phosphorous source
from the spinal cord: cholesterol for hormone products
from the intestines: medical sutures
from the pituitary gland: prolactin promotes lactation, pressor hormone regulates blood pressure, vasopressin controls intestinal and renal functions, ACTH for arthritis and allergies
from the liver: heparin is a anti-coagulant, liver extract is a treatment of anemia, vitamin B12 helps prevent B-Complex deficiencies

When it gets us there
By-products are used in all types of mechanical items to get you where you're going. Chemical manufacturers use fatty acids from inedible beef fats and proteins for all sorts of lubricants and fluids. Some of the items made from cow by-products are:
antifreeze, tires, glue, asphalt, hydraulic brake fluid, airplane lubricants and runway foam, various machine oils and viscous fluids, steel ball bearings containing bone charcoal, car polishes and waxes, textiles for car upholstery.

2. Has today's use changed from its original use/purpose?
Yes, originally cows were just used for their beef and hide. Today there is a wide variety of items made from cow by-products. Also beef is genetically bred to be leaner.

3. If yes, how was it originally used and why was there a shift in use?
Beef is bred to be leaner because that's what consumers want. Today many people are health conscious.

C. Industry Changes
1. How has technology changed the industry? What are some of these improvements/changes?
Genetic improvements have allowed for increased production and efficiency.

2. How has the uses for the product changed over the years?
Originally cattle were primarily used for milk for families with beef being a secondary product. Later certain cattle were raised to specifically provide beef and today there are many by-products of the beef industry.

3. Is consumption/use of the product increased/decreased?
It has increased. USDA statistics show that meat consumption has increased 9.2 lb. Per person since 1980. Annual per capita beef consumption (measured on a boneless, edible weight basis) is projected to be 64.1 lbs. in 1996, up from 61.6 lb. in 1993.

D. Future Outlook
1. How is the industry changing currently?
As the world's population grows and the need for food is increasing, cattle are able to make use of land not suitable for growing crops and are also able to use/eat materials that would otherwise into landfills. Perhaps the terrain is too steep or too hilly for building houses, or too rocky or dry for growing food crops. In fact, about 1.2 billion acres in America fall into this category--one-half the size of the United States (excluding Hawaii and Alaska). Some of the grass they eat contains cellulose which is indigestible by humans. However, cattle can digest this grass, converting it into beef and dairy products. This land would go to waste if it wasn't used for grazing cattle.

Cattle also eat products that humans don't after food production such as potato skins, fruit pits, almond hulls and sugar beet pulp. This greatly reduces the amount of waste that goes into our nation's landfills.

2. Are there any future projects that would change how the industry is maintained?
There is continual development of new grazing and feeding systems that not only improve efficiency, but also protect the environment. When cattle are properly grazed, they benefit the land in many ways. They aerate the soil with their hooves. This means that they loosen the soil when they walk on it. This allows more oxygen to enter the soil, helping grasses and plant to grow better. If soil isn't aerated, it often develops a hard crust, which decreases the amount of water and nutrients it can absorb.

When cattle graze they reduce the length of the grass, just as a human does when he or she mows the lawn. This is very helpful in reducing the spread of wildfires since there is less material on the round to burn. Cattle fight fires in another way--components from their blood are utilized to manufacture fire retardants.

Cattle also press grass seed into the soil. This is important because grass seed needs to be surrounded by soil in order to start growing. Cattle, also provide a natural fertilizer in the form of manure for the soil, its plants and grasses.

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III. Regional Information

A. Where in the state is the commodity?
1. If more than one location, where is it the most abundant?
There are cattle in all 100 counties.

2. The least abundant?
The most abundant area of the state for cattle is the Piedmont region. The least abundant is the northeast corner of the state (coast).

3. Why the difference in production from area to area?
Areas where cattle are more abundant tend to be more suitable for growing grass rather than crops.

B. Weather Conditions
1. If the weather is inclement, where do animals go?
Because of the heartiness of cattle, heat, cold and most precipitation do not cause discomfort to the cattle.

2. In emergency weather conditions (frosts, tornados, hurricanes) where do animals go?
Cattle often seek the shelter of a barn or grove of trees in extreme situations such as freezing rain.

3. In emergency weather conditions what precautions are taken? Are precautions usually preventative (advance) or reactive (as it occurs)?
In advance of cold weather cattle are often given more feed to keep up their energy levels.

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IV. Production

A. Housing
1. Is the animal kept indoors or outdoors?
Outdoors or pastures

2. Are they confined or let loose? Why?
They are kept loose in pastures in order to allow them to graze for food.

3. How are they housed?
They are not really housed except in special situations.

B. Food
1. What are they fed? How often or how much food do they need?
This varies with whether it is a beef cow (female) or a beef steer (male).

A beef cow usually has her first calf at around two years of age. Then she usually has one calf every 12 months with her pregnancy lasting just over 9 months. A beef cow nurses for about 7 months on her mother's milk. Then it gets 80 to 85 percent of her nutrients from grasses and other things such as potato peels and cotton seeds, which aren't eaten by man. A beef cow needs 1 to 2 acres of grass to feed her through a year. She'll eat on land that we can't use for growing crops.

A beef steer usually lives on his mother's milk and grass for around 7 months. He usually eats grass for 3 to 5 months after weaning. Then he is fed on grain for 3 to 4 months in a feedlot. In about 16 to 20 months of age, he usually reaches market weight. A beef steer gives us 459 pound of beef to eat and other things like leather for shoes and even baseballs.

2. How does their diet affect production?
A balanced diet will ensure efficient production.

C. Production Materials
1. Is there any special equipment used during the whole production process? What are they? Special Squeeze Chutes designed to safely administer vaccines and health treatments are used.

2. Are vaccinations used during production? What are the most common types? What are they for? Are they harmful to the animal or the end user (during consumption, etc.)?
Cattle are vaccinated to prevent respiratory diseases and viruses just like children are vaccinated to stay healthy. The vaccinations are not harmful to the animal and provide consumers with a safe, wholesome product.

D. Grading
1. Is there an inspection that the product must go through before being packaged/sold?
All meat sold must, by federal law, pass inspection for wholesomeness.

2. Is this county, state, national, etc.?
There are federal requirements that must be met in order to be sold.

3. What agency is responsible for the grading/testing and setting the standards?

4. How is the grading done? Is it for each individual piece, or per field, per farm, etc.?
All meat is inspected.

5. Give a basic breakdown of the scale used and what it means.
There is a difference in inspection and grading. The purpose of inspection is to assure the consumer that all meat sold is from healthy animals which were processed under sanitary conditions, and that the meat is safe to eat. Beef which passes federal inspection is stamped with a round, purple mark made with an edible vegetable dye. The number inside the mark is the official number assigned to the plant where the animal was processed. Beef inspection is extensive and thorough, with U.S. meat product having a safety record envied throughout the world. In addition to inspection of animals and of processed meat at the plant, beef is subject to inspection in other processing plants, in supermarket and meat market cutting rooms and in restaurant kitchens.

USDA meat grading is a voluntary service. Firms pay a fee to the USDA for the services provided by its graders, who are highly trained specialists employed by the agency. A grade mark is a shield-shaped symbol with the letters USDA and the grade name. When a beef or veal carcass is graded, the grade mark is applied to the carcass with an edible purple dye in a long, ribbon-like imprint. Prepackaged meats sometimes have grade shield stickers on the package. The top three of the eight beef grades are U.S. Prime, U.S. Choice, and U.S. Select. These grades may be found in retail stores and come from young animals usually less than two years old.

Remember, meat inspection is mandatory. The inspection mark means the meat is wholesome and safe to eat. Meat grading, on the other hand, is voluntary. The grade mark indicates a level of quality.

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V. Packaging

A. Is the product usually sold fresh, frozen, dried, etc.?
Beef can be sold fresh, frozen and dried. Fresh and frozen are the primary ways. Dried products like jerky cure are also popular.

B. If product is sold in a variety of ways what is the most common in NC?
In NC, beef is most commonly sold fresh in grocery stores.

C. Is the product packaged? (bags, boxes, bottles, etc)
Beef is usually packaged in Styrofoam trays with plastic wrap over it.

D. Why is it done this way? Is it economical, prevents bruising, industry standard or for shipping purposes, etc.?
It allows consumers to see the product.

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VI. Shipping

A. Distribution
1. What is the most common method of distribution in your industry?
Farm/ranch-->feeder-->packer-->purveyor-->grocery store/restaurant-->consumer

2. Is the product sold mainly to retail, foodservice, wholesale, specialt outlets or a variety of outlets? What is the most common?
Beef is sold in a variety of places. The most common is retail or foodservice.

3. Does the product go to one place, then another before ending up on a grocery store shelf or restaurant? If yes, where does it go?
Farm/ranch-->feeder-->packer-->purveyor-->grocery store/restaurant-->consumer

4. Is the commodity exported? Domestically, internationally?
Beef is exported both domestically and internationally. There is a trend throughout many foreign countries for quality grain-fed U.S. beef. Nearly 8% of beef output is in foreign markets. Japan is the largest export market for the United States with over $1.5 billion in 1996 sales. Canada, Mexico and South Korea are also large markets for U.S. beef, while Russian Federation remains the second largest market for U.S. beef variety meats.

5. What is the product used for? Are there different uses?
Beef is used for food, leather and a variety of other items made with by-products.

B. Transporting
1. How is the commodity normally transported (from farm to retail outlet)?
Live animals are transported in special trailers that provide safe conditions for the animals.

2. Does the transportation vehicle require special features (refrigeration, etc.)?
Beef is transported in refrigerated vehicles.

3. Have methods of transportation changed over the years? (Before automobiles, etc. how was it transported?)
Cattle were originally driven to market by drovers either on foot or horseback. You would call these drovers cowboys. Today cattle are transported primarily by truck and arrive to market much quicker and less stressed.

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VII. Buying

A. When purchasing/inspecting the commodity (at the store) how do you know it is fresh?
Beef should be a bright, cherry red color. No gray or discolored spots. Always check the sell by date.

B. Is there a trick to buying and finding fresh product? (Smell, color etc.)
The leanness, marbling and fat cover of beef will affect the taste of the meat and so should be considered when buying beef. The color of the lean part of the beef should be cherry red unless it has been cured or smoked. When first cut, beef is dark, purplish red. Vacuum-packaged beef will have this same darker color. After cutting and exposure to the air, though, the surface becomes bright red due to a reaction with oxygen in the air. This is why the outside layer of ground beef is often red while the middle is darker. The middle will also brighten after it is exposed to the air.

Marbling in beef improves the meat's flavor and juiciness. Marbling is the small flecks of fat throughout the lean. It supplies a few additional calories, although marbling is not as big a factor as fat cover in supplying fat and calories.

The fat that covers the exterior of most beef is called fat cover. It keeps beef from drying out before cooking and helps in retaining juices during cooking. This fat covering acts as a self-baster on roasts. Look for a fat covering of 1/8-inch or less on steaks and roasts, or trim the extra fat.

C. What are the storage techniques after you bring it home?
Perishable foods like meat should be stored properly in your refrigerator or freezer. Always make beef the last purchase before returning home. Most beef is prepackaged and should be stored wrapped as purchased. It can be stored for one to four days after you purchase it. Store at refrigerator temperatures (35 to 40 degree Fahrenheit). The meat compartment in some refrigerators is designed to maintain ideal temperatures.

When freezing fresh beef, do it as soon as possible after purchase while fresh and in top condition. Select a proper freezer wrapper. Specially coated freezer paper, aluminum foil and heavy-duty plastic bags will work. The wrap must seal out air and lock in moisture. If air penetrates the package, moisture is drawn from the surface of the meat causing a whitish surface layer known as "freezer burn", which affects the taste when cooked (but not the wholesomeness of beef). Plastic sandwich bags and waxed paper are unsuitable wrapping materials for freezing.

D. Labels
1. Is your product required to carry a label?

2. Is there an industry standard for the label, or is it individualized for each company/producer/grower?
Most retail stores across the U.S. have adopted a meat labeling program for all meats. The label used in the program will tell you the kind of meat it is, the name of the wholesale cut (where the meat comes from on the cow), the retail cut name (ex. Round steak, short ribs).

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VIII. Nutritional Information

A. Food Pyramid
1. What group of the food pyramid does the commodity fall into?
Meat, poultry, dry beans, fish, eggs and nuts

2. Is there a recommended daily allowance of this? What is it?
Two to three servings daily

B. What nutrients are found in the commodity?
Beef supplies complete, high quality protein. Proteins are made up of amino acids. We need 22 amino acids, but only eight are essential, meaning they must come from food. The body make the remaining nonessential amino acids. Complete proteins such as those in beef help to build, maintain and repair body tissues, form body hormones and enzymes and increase resistance to infection and disease.

Beef contains large amounts of B-vitamins. Riboflavin (vitamin Be) helps the body use energy and promotes healthy skin and good vision in bright light. Niacin, another B-vitamin, promotes healthy skin and nerves, aids digestion and fosters a normal appetite. Vitamin B12 is needed for normal functioning of body cells and of the nervous system, and is only found naturally in animal foods.

One of the most important nutrients in beef is iron. Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to and away from the other body cells. Beef is one of the best sources of iron, the single nutrient most often lacking in the diets of adult women, young children and athletes.

Zinc is a mineral the body needs to form enzymes and insulin. Like iron, zinc is especially difficult to obtain when meat is not included in the diet.

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