North Carolina cattleman John Queen will lead the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) in 2007 as its new president. He's the owner of John Queen Farms, a third-generation cattle farm founded in 1917 near Waynesville, in North Carolina's western mountain region. For more on Queen, see the January issue of BEEF.

Meanwhile, Guymon, OK, cattle feeder Paul Hitch is president-elect. Andy Groseta, a third-generation cattleman from Cottonwood, AZ, is vice president.

Steve Foglesong, Astoria, IL, was elected as NCBA Policy Division chairman, while Melville, MT, rancher Bill Donald will serve as vice chair.

Gary Voogt, Marne, MI, was elected chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils Division of NCBA for 2007. Lytton, IA, cattleman Alan Albright is vice chair.

Wyoming ranch is ESAP winner

Thaler Land & Livestock Co., LaGrange, WY, is the 2006 Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) national winner. The 1,500-acre commercial cattle ranch is operated by Dennis and Sandra Thaler, along with daughter and son-in-law Brandy and Kevin Evans, the third and fourth generations on the ranch, respectively.

Thaler Land & Livestock was among seven regional winners vying for the national award honoring cattle producers whose stewardship practices are inventive, cost-effective and contribute to environmental conservation. Other regional winners were: Blight Family Farms, Albion, MI; Hayston Farms, Mansfield, GA; Clan Farms, Atlantic, IA; San Pedro Ranch, Carrizo Springs, TX; Diablo Trust Ranches, Coconino County, AZ; and Brown's Gelbvieh Ranch, Bismarck, ND.

Now in its 16th year, nomination forms for the 2007 awards are due March 17. Visit www.beefusa.org/esap for an application.

Beef gets leaner

Retail beef is getting leaner. More importantly, retail beef is leaner than what's reported in government nutrition databases. A checkoff-funded National Beef Market Basket Survey conducted from January to March 2006 evaluated more than 10,000 retail cuts from 82 stores across the U.S. Overall fat thickness (outside fat trim) for retail cuts was less than one-tenth of an inch.

Bridget Baird, associate director, product enhancement research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), says the goal now is to work with USDA to make sure that information is reflected in the National Nutrient Database — data used by nutritionists to develop diet recommendations.

“Right now, the database has ½-in., ¼-in. or ⅛-in. trim,” Baird says. “We found that, in many cases, there are no cuts that have ½-in. of fat or greater.” That information will enable NCBA to work with USDA to revise the database, she says. “For producers, it's making sure beef is represented in its best light in the national database.”

In fact, she says 72% of the cuts sampled had fat trim levels less than ⅛-in., significantly more than the results from the first Market Basket Survey in 1991.

NCBA launches weekly TV show

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has launched a new weekly television program for America's cattlemen on RFD-TV. NCBA's “Cattlemen to Cattlemen” airs every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. EST, with rebroadcasts Wednesdays at 4:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 10 a.m.

The program includes interviews with high-profile individuals in the cattle industry and government, as well as information cattlemen can use on their operation — from expert advice on reproductive management and mineral nutrition, to segments about horse health and asset management. It will also cover news of the week and market information, as well as in-depth features about methods cattle producers are using to build their operations and grow their bottom line.

Visit www.cattlementocattlemen.org to learn more.

“Beef U” educates food service

“Beef U: A Foodservice Guide to Beef” is a two-CD guide designed to educate foodservice personnel on beef's story. The checkoff-funded project includes an interactive presentation builder so users can customize the material to the needs and interests of their audiences.

Food service partnerships are very important to the beef industry, as the total amount of beef sold through foodservice was nearly 8.4 billion lbs., valued at $25.7 billion wholesale, in fiscal 2006. That's a 52% market share in volume and a 58% market share in wholesale value, the Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) says.

Through foodservice partnerships between 2001 and 2006, the checkoff invested some $2.4 million, while foodservice invested more than $138.6 million. For each checkoff dollar invested, restaurant chains chipped in more than $57, the CBB says.

ANCW officers named

Wendy Pettz, Huntsville, AR, is the 56th president of the American National CattleWomen (ANCW). Pettz and her husband Robert own and operate a cattle and poultry operation, raising registered Brangus cattle.

Other officers include: Fita Witte, president-elect, Belen, NM; and Kristy Lage, vice president, Arthur, NE.

Web site highlights producers

Easy public access to facts, statistics and the personal experiences that take place from pasture to plate is the aim of a new beef checkoff-funded Web site, www.BeefFromPastureToPlate.org. The Web site covers the entire production chain and features producer profiles, a live “Ask a producer” page, a timeline of cattle in North America, fact sheets, recipes, safety tips and beef trivia.

A unique aspect is the virtual view — through short audio clips and photos — that gives a glimpse into the everyday life of U.S. beef producers. Cow-calf producers, a dairy producer, feedlot operator and a livestock marketer share personal stories.

70% of producers favor checkoff

Approval of the beef checkoff program is 70%, according to the latest biannual survey of producer attitudes about the checkoff. Commissioned by the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, the Dec. 18, 2006 — Jan. 11, 2007 survey of 1,225 beef and dairy producers was conducted by Aspen Media & Market Research.

Over the past five years, producer approval rates for the checkoff have ranged from 70-73%. The proportion of producers who disapprove of the program has remained virtually the same in the past year, although disapproval ratings are trending down. Since January 2003, the producer disapproval rate has dropped 12 points — from 27% to the current 15%.

The top three checkoff-funded activities that respondents described as “essential” to the beef industry were: continuing to foster consumer confidence in the safety of beef (62%), advertising beef to consumers (57%), and promoting U.S. beef in other countries (51%).

Californian is top auctioneer

Gene Klaft, Los Alamos, CA, was named the Champion Cattlemen's Auctioneer. Klaft competed against other top auctioneers from across the country in the event hosted by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Livestock Marketing Council (LMC) in Nashville, TN.

Klaft was sponsored by Templeton Livestock Market and Visalia Livestock Market, both of California. Reserve champion Jay Romine of Mount Washington, KY, was sponsored by Blue Grass Stockyards, Lexington, KY. Second runner-up Joel Martin of Williamston, SC, was sponsored by Martin & Martin Cattle Co., Inc., of Williamston, SC.

Beef Industry Vision Award

Fred H. Johnson of Summitcrest Farms of Summitville, OH, is the winner of the 2007 Beef Industry Vision Award. Presented by the National Cattlemen's Foundation (NCF), the award recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations in the cattle industry that have incorporated innovation into their operation in an effort to enhance not only their business but the industry as a whole.

Summitcrest Farms is one of the largest cattle operations in the country with three locations: Summitville, OH; Fremont, IA; and Broken Bow, NE. The total operation includes 17,000 acres with 1,500 Angus cows and 1,200 commercial beef animals.

Other finalists included: Thomas P. Gibson, Eastern Livestock Co., New Albany, IN; Safeway Inc., Pleasanton, CA; Myron Williams, Wall, SD; and the Wyoming CattleWomen, Inc.