Agricultural Beef Research Division, education supported by the Arkansas Beef Council

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Nick Kordsmeier

Arkansas Beef Council grants supported by beef levy funds will support several research and extension projects.

Animal scientists at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station received more than $63,000 from the Arkansas Beef Council this year to continue research and educational programs in beef production.

The Agricultural Experiment Station is the research arm of the Agriculture Division of the U of A System. Most of the Arkansas Beef Council funds given to the Division of Agriculture will go to research into consumer preferences and beef quality.

“Animal science greatly appreciates the Arkansas Beef Council’s support of our research, demonstration and youth education programs,” said Michael Looper, professor and head of the Department of Animal Science at Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. “Arkansas is a cow-calf state, ranking 11th nationally in beef cow numbers, with a robust feeder cattle industry. This funding allows our teachers and staff to educate our young on the beef industry and answer applicable questions for our producers who promote beef in our state and beyond.”

Cattle and calves are one of Arkansas’ top agricultural sectors, valued at more than $356 million in 2020, according to the Division of Agriculture’s 2021 Arkansas Agricultural Profile.

Research support

Kelly Vierck, assistant professor of animal science, received $19,600 for her study on determining palatability in Bos indicus cattle. For this study, palatability includes all aspects of the food experience, from flavor and texture to juiciness, tenderness and appearance.

Also known as Zebu or Brahman, Bos indicus Cattle were first domesticated in the Indus Valley region of today’s Pakistan. They can adapt to hot, dry conditions and have a high tolerance for pests.

Vierck also received $12,105 to support his study of the influence of retail display conditions on beef color and stability.

“Research generously funded by the Arkansas Beef Council will help Arkansas beef producers and retailers achieve the goal of improving sustainability in the beef industry,” Vierck said. “By improving livestock efficiency in warming climates and reducing retail food waste, we can help provide consumers with better quality, more sustainable products.”

Derico Setyabrata, assistant professor of meat science and muscle biology, received $18,900 to support his meat microbiome study to predict the quality and shelf life of beef.

“The project will be really helpful in better understanding the role of microorganisms and their interaction with meat products, potentially helping to create more sustainable meat systems,” Setyabrata said.

Education support

The Arkansas Beef Council awarded $2,600 for the Agriculture Division’s Youth Beef Quiz Bowl. The quiz bowl is open to members of 4-H and Future Farmers of America.

Bryan Kutz, teaching assistant professor and extension youth specialist in the Department of Animal Science, said the activity inspires Arkansas students to learn more about management, food safety, forage nutrition , quality assurance and the final beef product. The funding also supports the development of materials for county extension officers and professional agricultural instructors to advance the learning process beyond that of the 4-H and FFA projects.

Youth Beef Quiz Bowl participants are tested at several levels of difficulty. The questions are compiled by the Faculty of Animal Science and cover all aspects of beef production and the final product.

Kutz says preparing for the competition allows students to sharpen their knowledge of beef cattle production. Additionally, students improve their communication, goal-setting, critical-thinking, and team-building skills.

“This program has a great impact on student education and encourages a broad perspective on their role in beef production, food safety and consumer acceptance,” Kutz said.

Janeal Yancey, Program Technician for the Department of Animal Science, received $8,650 to continue running the Beef Short Course. The course is part of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Leadership Class and will be held Nov. 7-9.

The Beef Short Course features speakers and experiences to enhance participants’ knowledge of the feedlot and beef processing industries. Participants will also process a side of beef carcass into wholesale and retail cuts.

The Arkansas Beef Council also awarded Yancey $1,500 for enhancements to its “Mom at the Meat Counter” blog and beef products for the 4-H Meat Judging Contest and youth education.

About the Arkansas Beef Council: The Arkansas Beef Council was established by state law to oversee and administer the beef check-off program in Arkansas. The council is responsible for collecting the nationally legislated $1 per head assessment on all livestock, regardless of age or size, marketed in Arkansas and distributing these funds in accordance to the provisions of the Order. Congress established the National Beef Checkoff Program with passage of the Farm Bill of 1985. Nationally, the Beef Checkoff Program is overseen by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.

About the Agriculture Division: To learn more about Agriculture Division research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: aaes.uada.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk. To learn more about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. The mission of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture System is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research with the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the country’s historic land grant education system. The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities in the University of Arkansas system. It has offices in all 75 counties of Arkansas and faculty at five system campuses. The Agricultural System Division of the University of Arkansas offers all of its extension and research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin , religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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