May is Beef Month

Burgers, Brats and even a nice steak would be a great addition to any meal this May, because May is National Beef Month.This is a time when Beef producers take an extra minute to talk to folks about the healthy benefits of eating beef.

Now, when it comes to eating meat, I really love pork and chicken. However, days like today, when it is really warm outside and grilling is underway, I crave a burger or steak.

Naturally, I took advantage of the Missouri Legacy Beef booth on MU’s campus for a grilled burger. It hit the spot! It also gave me energy to be productive with my school work.

I looked it up online today, and cattlemen say beef provides ZIP to fuel our bodies.

Zinc

Iron

Protein

No wonder why I was so energized! There are a lot of vitamins in a serving of beef. Now if it could only energize me through another week of school…

Ag Undefined = A Million Definitions

Defining words is extremely valuable. Especially in agriculture.

In this industry words are complex, cultivating, powerful, exciting, frustrating and sometimes even life-changing. If someone doesn’t understand a word or phrase, how can it be used properly?

That’s partly why I began this Agri-Word blog. To define words people may or may not be able to define themselves. I took a look at my short list, and thought it would be a good thing to talk about the reasoning behind defining words in agriculture.

First, lets get slimy. The last word defined on Agri-Word was pink slime. The word’s existence and definition grew fast-and with a damaging reputation to boot for agriculture.

How ABC News smeared a stellar company with ‘pink slime.’

Gainor considers pink slime an influencing word for beef and modern agriculture. The way people defined the pink-looking substance could have a bad turn-out for beef consumption.

Aside from this word, I think agriculture has learned some lessons in the past five years about discussing processes and basic terms used in the industry. They need to talk to people and let them know what goes on in agriculture. When people don’t know what something is, it makes a food or another product seem scary and it blows up. It’s all about defining words and understanding those definitions.

Agriculture has wronged the public-however, not intentionally-of knowledge of certain food production in the past. Heck, I grew up on a farm and had never heard of the pink filler. But, it’s time to have those conversations with the public, because that’s how someone can gain a stronger understanding of a process or word.

Is there one definition for a pink slime? Not in this case. The word itself seems like it has one million definitions. Well, maybe not one million, but at least a few. That’s where Agri-Word comes in.

If not Agri-Word, someone has to get the story straight. It’s time to start defining words. Will you?

Got Slime?

Pink Slime. 

Pink Slime depicted online and via Facebook.

That’s the next food issue based question that’s on everyone’s mind who eats beef and has read or watched national news within the last week.

Pink slime sounds disgusting doesn’t it? Who would want to buy such a meat at the supermarket? I don’t think anyone would want to buy something that sounds gross-but don’t you know what’s in your food?

When creating this blog, pink slime definitely wasn’t in my book of words to define, but I think it’s definitely worth the time.

Here are a few definitions I have found online:

Pink Slime– Term Wiki: “Beef filler produced from discarded beef scraps and trimmings treated with ammonium hydroxide and then ground into a pinkish form that looks something like hamburger meat.”

  • Other Wiki Definition- “A meat byproduct where otherwise unusable cuts are mixed with ammonium hydroxide in a centrifuge to produce food for humans.”
  • The Big Apple Blog: “Lean beef trimmings” is the official name of a product by Beef Products Inc. of ground-up connective tissue and beef scraps.”

I took a look at some stories today, and here are two I found from the ABC Network. The first addresses the issue-through a reporter’s point of view:

I have been taught it is a reporter’s job is to be the eyes and ears of the public. It is important reporters address concerns and educate the public on issues like politics, culture and yes, even food when the agriculture industry doesn’t want to answer questions.

Here is a follow up with the ABC Network who talks about the Ag industries’ semi lack of response to this issue.

Pink slime has its own hashtag on Twitter and there is a Facebook page called, “Stop Pink Slime.” This is a HUGE issue in terms of agriculture.

 

Sure, there is conversation going on in #Agchat and #PinkSlime that is trying to combat this news, but why didn’t the USDA do some responding last week when the issue arose (aside from the fact that it was National Ag Week)?

What do you think: is it fair agriculture doesn’t have a response for this? Do you think it’s the grocery buyer’s fault for not knowing what is in their food? Should people be concerned about this?

Social Media and Agriculture

For most of the agriculture industry, winter is typically known as the season of calving, planning out next year’s harvest and purchasing equipment for the New Year. But when famers aren’t doing that, they can attend national agriculture conferences like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Convention. This year’s annual event is being held this week in Nashville.

Even though I did not have an opportunity to attend this year’s event, I have been keeping up with the excitement on Twitter and Facebook.

There are tweets just about every minute about what is going on inside the huge trade show and meetings. It’s almost like I am attending the convention for free.

Ten years ago, farmers didn’t use tweets and social media like they do today. Smart phones and up-to-date technology make that easier.

In agriculture, farmers use social media to share what’s happening on their dairy farm. That dairy farmer could also use social media to have a conversation with a dairy farmer in New Zealand to learn about sustainable milk production.

They can also share what’s happening at local, state or national conferences. Just like the NCBA Convention. It’s a really neat tool for farmers to have.

Check out how some Virginia Farm Bureau members use social media.

Farmers aren’t the only ones in agriculture taking advantage of the social media opportunity. Agriculture communicators also use social media.

Ag communicators (just like most farmers) really enjoy using a tool like social media, because it is an easy way to interact with farmers and the public to see what they say or think about a certain issue or program.

It’s inspiring to see what’s happening on a farm in Nebraska with a picture of the horizon. It can also be interesting to see how quickly word spreads about a promotion, contest or conversation. And sometimes agriculture communicators agvocate certain issues within the agriculture industry.

Agriculturalists (farmers, communicators…etc) are usually very supportive of one another’s work online as well.

One thing is sure, social media in agriculture isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. More farmers will join Facebook and Twitter this year. Which means more conversations will talk place about the industry, food, fuel, fiber and conferences.

(Which ALSO means the NCBA Convention won’t be the only thing new I will be following on Twitter this year).

If you are interested in following farmers or what agriculture is saying on Twitter, you can follow these hashtags: #agchat, #agriculture, #harvest, #planting and even #farming. To follow the rest of the NCBA convention, follow the hashtag #ncba12.