A partnership between Nebraska, Kansas and New York puts a new twist on health and benefits the beef industry in the process.
Beef councils in Nebraska and Kansas this fall spent beef checkoff dollars to assist the New York Beef Industry Council in hiring a registered dietitian who will work for the beef industry in New York. Both the Nebraska and Kansas groups have registered dietitians on staff and value the benefits this healthcare professional brings to the beef industry in their state, says Craig Uden, Nebraska feedlot operator and chairman of the Nebraska Beef Council. By leveraging dollars, New York consumers and producers will see these benefits as well.
The first outcome of this partnership has been hiring Kara Behlke as dietitian for the NYBIC. "Growing up in Nebraska, I developed a devotion to the beef industry and I am now bringing good news with me to New York," she says. "I hope to help promote a better understanding of the beef industry by delivering beef's positive nutrition message to health professionals and consumers. I grew up knowing that beef tasted great, but now, as a dietitian, I know why it is good for you."
"In states such as Kansas and Nebraska, the number of cattle (and checkoff collections) far outnumber consumers. By investing collectively in a large consumer state like New York, we are able to extend the impact of producers' dollars," says Andrew Murphy, Great Bend, Kan., cattleman and Kansas Beef Council chairman.
While developing this partnership, the states agreed the most important aspect was to have a person at the "ground level" in New York, working closely with healthcare and nutrition professionals.
"We know consumers love beef and are looking for permission' to eat it. Sharing beef's nutritional benefits and making sure this message is carried across our nation to health influencers is vital to increasing beef demand," says Uden.
Dick Ayers, chairman of the New York Beef Industry Council, is excited about the new hire. "Our Board members are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to add Kara Behlke as a dietitian on our staff. The Nebraska and Kansas producers are to be commended for recognizing the need to reach the 19.3 million consumers in New York with beef's positive nutrition message."