Tribute to a Trailblazer
Connie Greig, Estherville, IA
Iowa rancher Connie Greig’s commitment to being a positive spokesperson for the beef industry earned her the BEEF Trailblazer Award in 1996. A longtime beef advocate within her home state and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Greig, who operates Little Acorn Ranch with her family, has a been a leader in issues related to cattle health and animal care.
In 1996, as chairman of NCBA’s Cattle Health and Well-Being Committee, she had been tracking the BSE phenomenon in the United Kingdom, and when the news broke about the link between BSE and Creutzfeld-Jakobs Disease in humans, Greig knew consumers would need reassurance about the safety of beef.
She was instrumental in helping form the US position on preparedness and in dealing with the US fallout. Greig was also the industry’s public face, appearing on the Oprah show to educate nervous consumers about US beef production practices and beef safety.
Today – a decade later – BSE continues to be a concern, but Greig believes the straightforward approach taken to provide US consumers with information has been crucial to reducing fears about beef.
She says, “I remember when that fi rst report came from Europe. USDA and beef industry leaders made the decision we were not going to sweep anything under the table.” Instead, the public was immediately told everything that the industry and USDA knew.
That’s still the policy today on BSE and Greig says, “I’m proud of the industry and US government for going public.”
Animal care and the environment have also been important issues to Greig. In the 1990’s she was the fi rst cattle producer to receive the Humane Award from the American Veterinary Medical Association. In 1998, the Greig family was honored with the NCBA Environmental Stewardship Award.
Greig will retire from ranching this summer and turn the reins over to son Will. But Greig says we’ll still fi nd her attending beef events and serving on the Iowa State University ag advisory committee.
Awarded annually in November for exemplary industry efforts, the BEEF 2007 Trailblazer is sponsored by New Holland