Iowa Beef Industry Council in partnership with New York Beef Council (NYBC), live-streamed a virtual farm tour connecting consumers to a New York cow-calf operation and an Iowa feedlot. The fifty-minute-long Facebook Live Stream introduced attendees to Betsy Hicks of Maple Acres Farm located in McGraw, NY before virtually traveling to Nate Graham’s finishing lot in Cherokee County, Iowa.
The virtual tours included an overview of the beef life cycle including an up-close look at cow/calf pairs. The tour also introduced attendees to what cattle eat, and how farmers manage their land through rotational grazing. Additional topics discussed were cattle identification, record keeping and herd health management. Graham Feedlots is a fourth-generation family farm that takes great care in producing high-quality feed for their cattle and works to provide the highest quality care to their cattle which is highlighted throughout the tour.
Due to COVID-19, the trip was streamed live across Facebook and on the NYBC website allowing for students learning virtually, as well as, any interested consumers to watch. The trip hosted on June 11th garnered a reach of more than 11,000 people and been viewed 5,000 times with more than 1,000 engagements on social media.
This trip provides attendees with an especially unique opportunity to follow the beef lifecycle from birth to finish. New York is a high population state with over 19.6 million consumers and, despite being home to over 628,000 dairy cows, beef production in the state primarily focuses on the cow-calf segment of direct-to-consumer marketing. There are only 7,300 beef farms in NY. In contrast, Iowa is home to more cattle than people with a staggering 3,900,000 head of cattle in the state. Beef production in Iowa widely focuses on the finishing phase utilizing the primary cropland and corn production in the region.
“Iowa has a unique opportunity with its state to state partnerships. Collectively Iowa consumers are more directly connected to agriculture than consumers of some other states and have a positive perception of the beef industry overall,” said Nate Graham. “Therefore, the ability to offer resources to areas where consumer populations are higher with a greater disconnect to where their food comes from has become increasingly important in recent years.”
About the Iowa Beef Industry Council: The Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1-per-head National Beef Checkoff Program and the $0.50-per-head Iowa State Beef Checkoff. Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand. For more information, visit www.iabeef.org.