Delicious and nutritious food is just the start
(TOPEKA) – As the weather warms, people are firing up their grills, grabbing their tongs, and grabbing mouth-watering steaks and real beef burgers to create memories with their families and friends. In doing so, they support a cattle community that contributes positively to the environmental, economic, and nutritional well-being of Kansas. Recognizing the tremendous importance of the beef community, Governor Laura Kelly declared May Beef Month. Additionally, the governor plans to formally sign the proclamation at Lyons Ranch near Manhattan in the coming weeks.
According to Randall Debler, chairman of the executive committee of the Kansas Beef Council, the value of beef to the state’s economy and social fabric is remarkable.
“Kansas ranks third in the nation with more than 6.5 million cattle on ranches and feedlots,” Debler says. “That’s more than double the human population of the state.” Additionally, Kansas ranked second in feeder cattle marketed, with an estimated 6.7 million in 2020. In total, beef cattle and calves accounted for 51.4% of Kansas’ farm cash receipts in 2020 , strengthening and improving the purchasing power of local economies throughout the state.
Not only does the market value of beef have a substantial impact on the economy, but Kansas’ beef community also has a significant impact on employment. According to the Kansas Department of Labor, Kansas meat packing and the manufacturing of prepared meat products accounts for the largest share of the food processing industry in the state. This industry employs more than 31,440 people in Kansas (Kansas Department of Labor). This includes jobs in companies providing goods and services to manufacturers, distributors and retailers, as well as those dependent on sales to workers in the meat industry.
The beef produced by Kansas beef farmers and ranchers, feeders and processors contributes significantly to human health at every stage of life. The search for gold standard randomized controlled trials, such as a recent levy-funded study from Pennsylvania State University1, demonstrates that lean beef may be the protein of choice in many diets and that people who consume about 5.5 ounces of lean fresh beef a day as part of a healthy diet may reduce risk factors for heart disease, including total LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.
Kansas has approximately 45.7 million acres of farmland. However, not all of this land can be used to grow crops. Cattle grazing is an ideal technique for effectively utilizing the grasses and plants growing on more than 15.5 million acres of pasture and range in Kansas. These acres would be wasted if it weren’t for ruminants like cattle that can turn these resources into essential proteins and nutrients for humans. Additionally, livestock grazing helps maintain grasslands and reduce fuel load, which can ignite destructive wildfires.
“Kansas breeders and ranchers are committed to producing a healthy, nutritious product in a responsible and sustainable way,” says Debler. “However, producing fine beef over many generations is only part of the story. Producers also keep consumer needs and wants in mind. »
“While all aspects of beef farming and processing are important, producing delicious, safe, wholesome and nutritious beef is our industry’s number one job,” says Debler. “After all, beef producers are also consumers of the beef they produce. They take pride in their role in providing this product that so many people love.