JOHNSTON, Iowa, June 10, 2009 — The Growth Enhancement Technology Information Team (GET IT) is introducing a marketing program focused on the economic and environmental benefits of conventional beef production.
The campaign will provide beef producers with facts about the “eco-friendly and eco-nomical” benefits of conventional beef production — facts producers can share with family, friends and neighbors who might not be familiar with the benefits of modern beef production systems.
“U.S. consumers are facing rising food costs in a tight economy and the continued pressure to purchase sustainable products,” says Paul Parker, GET IT chairman. “GET IT believes beef producers have a great opportunity to be proactive and positive with messages about beef’s affordability and environmental and economic sustainability.”
Conventional beef production is environmentally friendly
One of the key campaign messages is conventional beef production is environmentally friendly compared to grass-only or natural beef-production systems.
“It may seem counterintuitive that conventional beef production has less environmental impact than grass-only, natural or organic beef production,” says Parker. “But cattle finished on grain-based rations using growth-enhancing technologies are more land efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
An Iowa State University study comparing conventional, grain-fed beef production to grass-only, natural beef production showed conventional beef production decreases the amount of land required to produce a pound of beef by two-thirds1. More than five acre-days are needed to produce a pound of beef from natural grass-fed cattle compared to just 1.7 acre-days for conventionally raised, grain-fed beef using growth-enhancing technologies1.
In addition, conventional beef production results in a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per pound of beef compared to grass-fed, natural beef production1.
“There always will be a niche market for organic and natural beef. Grass-fed beef is environmentally friendly but not as much as conventional beef production, and it’s certainly not as sustainable because of higher production costs and use of land resources,” Parker adds. “GET IT supports consumer choice at the meat counter but wants people to know beef from grain-fed cattle receiving growth-enhancing technologies is the best environmental choice.”
Conventional beef production makes beef more affordable, increases consumer demand
A recent analysis by Iowa State University agricultural economists shows if conventional beef production practices were replaced by “natural-only” practices, retail beef prices would increase by about 11 percent2, causing consumer demand to decrease by 8.6 percent2.
“Conventional grain-fed beef production utilizing growth-enhancing technologies makes beef more economical for both producers and consumers,” notes Parker. “Increased demand is great news for beef producers and we are pleased that beef technologies are resulting in equally great news for consumers at the meat case.”
Campaign runs through end of year
The GET IT campaign includes both print and electronic advertising in major beef-industry publications, electronic newsletters and Web sites, thanks to GET IT media partner BEEF, which provided in-kind space in BEEF magazine and BEEF Daily e-newsletter, as well as on www.beefmagazine.com. Special-edition newsletters and videos also will be developed.
Producers and consumers can learn more about the “eco-friendly and eco-nomical” benefits of conventional beef production by visiting www.beeftechnologies.com/eco.
The Growth Enhancement Technology Information Team (GET IT) is an organization of executives from animal-health manufacturing companies in the United States. GET IT was formed at the suggestion of leading beef producers and branded-beef marketers who recognized the need for a centralized source of factual information about the economic, environmental and animal-welfare impact of technologies used in conventional beef production. The GET IT mission is to ensure both beef producers and consumers understand the value and contribution growth-enhancing technologies have made to the production of safe, affordable, top-quality beef, and to the protection and conservation of the environment.