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Nebraska corn-fed beef adds value to ‘center of plate’ PDF Print E-mail

Nebraska’s beef producers are the best in the world–and they are experts at converting Nebraska-produced commodities like corn and distillers grains into corn-fed beef that is featured at the center of the plate the world over, the Nebraska Corn Board said in acknowledgement of May being Beef Month.

“Nebraska is well suited for beef production. We have the land, the corn, the ethanol co-product distillers grains and the processing infrastructure necessary to be a national and global leader,” said Dennis Gengenbach, vice chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board who is both a corn farmer and cow/calf producer. 

“It’s no wonder that you can find nutritious Nebraska beef featured on plates in homes and restaurants in dozens of countries around the world.”

This “center of plate” reputation goes along with the importance of Nebraska’s beef industry to the state’s economy –and the significant benefits of converting Nebraska corn and ethanol co-products like distillers grains into value-added beef. 

This is why the Nebraska Corn Board invests checkoff dollars into research and support for cattle production and into global market development programs that feature Nebraska beef.

On the research and support side, the board invests more than $100,000 annually to research the value and methods of feeding distillers grains and to supporting joint Nebraska Cattlemen and Nebraska Corn Board lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C.

“Nebraska is the only state that has an annual joint cattle and corn effort in D.C.,” said Jon Holzfaster, chairman of the board’s government affairs committee, as well as a corn, cattle and ethanol producer from Paxton. 

“We gain a lot by working together and addressing important projects in D.C. that benefit both sectors. It’s a tremendous opportunity and delivers a certain amount of impact when we’re in a meeting together.”

The corn checkoff also supports research into the best ways to feed distillers grains in both finishing and cow-calf operations. 

This research, conducted by the University of Nebraska, has gone a long way in helping cattle producers take advantage of feed produced by the growing ethanol sector.

“Cattle perform very well on distillers grains, and our research efforts have made a difference to cattle producers in Nebraska and across the country,” Gengenbach said. “We have published several feeding manuals, and are looking to update one and create a new one yet this year.”

For market development programs, the Nebraska Corn Board invests approximately $400,000 to promote red meat exports around the world.

“Beef exports represent about $138 per head to the cattle industry, so working to expand markets in places like Japan and Taiwan are critical to this,” Holzfaster said. “Promoting trade and free trade agreements is another avenue we must pursue.”

Five of the nine farmer-directors that make up the Nebraska Corn Board also raise cattle. 

“We see the beef industry from many vantage points first hand, and we understand that working together to keep the cattle industry strong is one of the best ways to keep Nebraska strong, too,” Gengenbach said.

“There are a lot of advantages to transforming corn and the ethanol co-product distillers grains into a higher value product like corn-fed beef,” he said. 

“It provides positive economic activity that’s good for rural communities and the state as a whole. It’s to all our advantage to keep Nebraska beef at the center of the plate here at home and around the world.”

The Nebraska Corn Board is a self-help program, funded and managed by Nebraska corn farmers. 

Producers invest in the program at a rate of 1/4 of a cent per bushel of corn sold. Nebraska corn checkoff funds are invested in programs of market development, research and education.