55 industry influencers explore the world of veal and dairy in New York

Beef Checkoff program The New York Beef Industry Council (NYBIC) once again invited more than 50 industry influencers to an educational veal/dairy tour of New York State. The dynamics of this year's tour was different than the tour of 2010 as this year's attendees were a mix of chef educators and their students. Six different culinary schools, along with food service, retail, dietitians and media, were present for a farm-to-fork look at the veal and dairy industries.

The agenda boasted a day and a half tour. Day one began at Noblehurst Dairy Farm in Pavillion, N.Y. to discuss how the dairy industry impacts the veal industry. Noblehurst has about 1,800 head of dairy cows and has been recognized as a "Dairy of Distinction" according to John Noble, 1 of 5 owners of the family-run dairy. The day continued at Provitello Veal Farm where manager Jurian Bartelse explained to attendees the aspects of group housing and feeding at his state-of-the-art facility in Elba, N.Y. The day concluded with a dinner menu of Veal Riggies and eclectic Central New York dish (that often features chicken) which was altered by the NYBIC to utilize veal, thus creating a unique and delicious entrée.

Day two took attendees to the New York Wine and Culinary Center, where they heard from speakers discussing veal nutrition, Veal Quality Assurance, Veal Issues Management, and Packer Processing, including inspection and grading. The beef checkoff's veal channel marketing team also assisted by discussing the veal industry's retail and foodservice plans as well as veal social media opportunities.

Center-of-the-Plate expert Steve Olson and Executive Chef Dave Zino conducted a 90-minute veal cutting and cooking clinic. After the lectures, attendees were sent to the "hands-on kitchen", tied on aprons and cooked up a veal storm creating eight culinary dishes to be served for lunch.

"Pre- and post-tour surveys showed a positive shift of thinking and understanding of the veal/dairy industry," says Jean O'Toole, director of PR and promotion for the NYBIC. "The tour provided attendees an opportunity to see the transparency of each industry, allowing them to freely ask questions and express their concerns over myths and misconceptions that are often portrayed in the media about the industry."

The NYBIC will also be hosting May Beef Month Tours May 22-24 2012. For more information and to RSVP by May 10, contact Jean O'Toole at jotoole@nybeef.org.

For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com or NYbeef.org.