By nature, dairy farmers sell milk. Consequently, though, we also sell beef — whether that’s in the form of bull calves, culled cows, raised steers, or other animals. In 2018, 21% of U.S. beef came from dairy animals. That totaled 5.6 billion pounds. Finished dairy steers were the largest sector of that contribution at 12.6% of total American beef.
We might not think of marketing this beef as much as we consider how to better produce and market milk, but the need for a positive voice remains the same if we want to continue to have a place to sell our additional animals. One place that voice is united is in programs of the National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA), and a recent initiative bolsters their powerful partnership to assure consumers of the heart-healthy value of beef products.
The American Heart Association (AHA) collaborated with NCBA to certify 20 recipes and nine extra-lean cuts of beef with AHA’s Heart-Check mark, which helps customers identify foods that have met AHA scientific statements and recommendations. To receive a Heart-Check mark, products must meet AHA requirements for total fat, saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar per serving. Much of the beef produced from dairy animals is in lean or extra-lean cuts, which (like all beef) provide 10 essential nutrients including protein and B vitamins.
Today, one out of every three shoppers say they look for the Heart-Check mark to find healthier options in the grocery store.
Animal proteins, whether meat, milk, or eggs, have experienced increasing noise from people with various levels of nutrition “expertise” about the real health benefits they propose. As with any food, moderation is key, but accrediting the value of beef in this way will help provide facts for families to base their food decisions around.
Promoting the good things about all of the products dairy farmers provide, in unity with each other and with a credible, trusted voice, develops an eager customer base and maintains an essential market.