May is the month that the Iowa Beef Industry Council takes every year to highlight its industry and products. Council spokesman Brian Waddingham says the industry in Iowa remains strong this beef month despite some concerns such as “Mad Cow” disease.

Waddingham says the council has used the money from the beef checkoff to educate people in the wake of the “Mad Cow” cases. Waddingham says they’ve reached out and gotten out the positive message that the beef supply in the United States is strong and there’s no concern.

Waddington says the industry has capitalized and benefited from the health trend.
He says they saw “a very large percentage increase in beef demand when protein diets where at their peak.” Waddingham says they’ve worked to keep those people who ate beef as part of the diet trend to continuing eating beef as the trend ended.

Waddingham says the industry has tried to keep up with the trends in nutrition and they offer 29 cuts that’re classified as “lean.” Waddingham says with the renovated food guide pyramid, they’ve worked to include beef in a well-balanced meal. He one thing they did was partner with the American Dietetic Association for a healthy beef cookbook that incorporates beef, fruits and vegetables to give you a well-rounded meal.

Waddingham says the three biggest beef grilling holidays are coming up with Memorial Day kicking things off. He says there are still the die-hard beef eaters out there who like the traditional cuts. He says they still see a lot of ribeyes, New York strip and t-bones sold, but he says they also have two new “value” cuts called the “beef petite shoulder tender” and the “flat iron steak.”

Waddingham says the beef industry is benefiting from a surge in the use of another Iowa staple. Waddingham says there’s a cattle inventory of three-point-eight million head — which is 200-thousand more than last year. He says part of the industry growth is due to their ability to utilize the distillers grains and gluten left over from the ethanol-making process to feed the cattle. Waddingham says the beef industry has a five-point-one billion dollar impact on the Iowa economy.