W4177: Enhancing the Competitiveness and Value of U.S. Beef
(Multistate Research Project)
W4177: Enhancing the Competitiveness and Value of U.S. Beef
Duration: 10/01/2017 to 09/30/2022
Statement of Issues and Justification
The dramatic twenty-year decline in beef demand that began in the late 1970s, resulted in a 50% decline in beef demand by the late 1990s (Tonsor, 2016a). This demand shock has resulted in dramatic changes in the way cattle are raised, fed cattle are marketed, and how carcasses are fabricated over the last twenty-years. As a result, beef demand has increased 20%, but still remains 40% below its pre-1980 levels.
Evolving domestic and international consumer preferences for protein sources driven by economic and health issues are affected by food safety concerns, international trade restrictions on beef, and public perception of animal health versus the drive to improve animal production and fabrication productivity. Improving the competitive position of beef in the world market is a complex issue that confronts the beef industry as it competes in a global market. Federally funded research to support this type of collaborative research activity is necessary as the U.S. beef industry continues to confront complex challenges that require a multi-disciplinary, integrated approach involving participants from animal science, meat science, and economics. To better understand the relationship in the beef industry between price and product quality, animal/meat scientists and economists need to work together to explore issues affecting beef demand.
For instance, among the items in a 2015 national survey conducted by the Beef Checkoff were two revealing questions to consumers of beef in restaurants and at home: (1) Is beef great tasting and (2) Is beef always tender. For beef consumed at home, 91% said it was great tasting but just 58% said it was always tender. For beef consumed in a full-service restaurant, 90% agreed completely or somewhat that beef was great tasting but just 61% felt it was always tender (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, 2015). Data collected by Erickson et al. (2014) revealed that 80% of overall palatability ratings were related to beef tenderness. Clearly, among domestic consumers there are opportunities to increase satisfaction by improving tenderness. This a natural area of collaboration across committee member disciplines.
In the last three decades, past and current members of this committee have made significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the areas of red meat production and fabrication, food safety, consumer preferences for red meat products, understanding economic forces that have propelled changes in the structure of the industry, and the change in market participant behavior due to the changing economic climate the beef industry competes in. The multi-disciplinary research team has decided to continue its focus on beef value at all levels from production through the supply chain to consumer demand. Animal care and health, production and processing, information transfer and marketing, and factors influencing domestic and international demand all affect beef value and thus its competitiveness.
Related, Current and Previous Work
There is a deep working literature on many issues directly germane to those of focus in this project as outlined in the four main objectives below. This literature contains numerous contributions produced by current project participants across multiple disciplines. While an extensive review of this literature is beyond the scope of this multi-state research project renewal process, it is worth noting the following highlights:
The U.S. beef production system has been under stress for over three decades. Economic and social/cultural factors have influenced the structure of the U.S. beef industry and the demand for its product. Consumer’s preferences for beef have been changing since the 1980s, with a greater focus on lifestyle and health considerations (Fausti et al., 2010). Tonsor (2016b) provides estimates for beef demand from 1990 to 2016. His “All Fresh Beef Index” (July 2016) indicates that beef demand is currently below 1990 levels and has not surpassed 1990 levels during the last 26 years. Weakness in beef demand is due to numerous factors beyond lifestyle and relative price issues. Food safety issues, product quality variability, need for additional innovative value added process both at the production and retail level. Increased competition from the pork and poultry industry, along with increased competition from abroad. Internationally, in China, perception of US beef is still down, mostly a result of 13-year ban on US imports following an outbreak of BSE in 2003 (Ortega et al., 2013). China is set to lift the ban later this year.
The Beef Supply Chain, Market Concentration, and Price Transparency
Weakness in beef demand has influenced structural change in the way meat packer, feedlot, and cow/calf industries have adopted to a constantly changing market environment. The packing industry continues to consolidate as a result of globalization. The decision of Brazilian packer JBS to buy Swift & Company in 2007 increased the influence of globalization on the U.S. beef market and increased the concern of industry experts over the issue of industrial concentration (Anderson and Hudson 2008). The packing industry continues to struggle with the issue of food safety and the development of innovate value added beef products. The beef feedlot industry continues to see a decline in the number of operations, primarily due to the exit of feedlots with a capacity of 1000 head or less (Fausti & Diersen 2016). This decline in feedlot operations is partially offset by the industries adoption of practices that have improved productivity (Fausti et al., 2010). However, increased concentration in the feeding industry has led to changes in the market for fed cattle. Concern has been raised over the decline in the cash market volume for fed steers and heifers and the resulting effect on price discovery and price transparency. Koontz (2013) discusses the changes in volume patterns across Alternative Marketing Arrangements (AMA). AMA refer to the cash and contract markets for fed steer and heifers. Koontz’s reports that cash market volume has declined from 60% of volume in 2004 to 20% in 2013. A thinning cash market has implications for price discovery and price transparency since contract market prices are usually based on cash market prices. The rapid adoption of the contract option to sale fed cattle may very well be related to competitive pressures associated with weak beef demand.
Changes in how cattle prices and volumes are publically reported has also resulted from the passage of the Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting Act (Koontz & Ward 2011). The change in federal regulations on livestock price reporting has raised the issue of market power affecting pricing and marketing behavior in the fed cattle market (Xiaowei Cai, et al.,2011; Fausti et al., 2015; Mathews et al., 2015).
Carcass Quality, Meat Quality, and Palatability
Factors influencing consumer selection of beef products remain strongly tied to sensory characteristics, safety, freshness and price. Therefore, major goals of the beef industry must be oriented toward ensuring that the U.S. beef industry is focused on producing a wholesome and affordable product for domestic and international customers. Sensory attributes such as tenderness and flavor play an important role in the competitive international market.
Increased marbling levels positively affect beef tenderness, juiciness, flavor, and overall acceptability (Emerson et al., 2013; Smith et al., 1985). Although a small percentage of USDA Select beef is used to fulfill demands of specific international markets, superior beef quality and successful exports programs are dependent on USDA Choice and Prime quality grades. Corbin et al. (2014) demonstrated that fat level is the primary driver of beef flavor acceptability, which also drives the willingness to pay by consumers. Legako et al. (2016) also reported that overall palatability and flavor rankings by consumers were correlated with initial flavor perception and fat-like attributes identified by trained panelists. Previous research by members of this committee provided valuable information regarding the effects of feeding alternative feedstuffs and vitamin E in order to minimize off-flavor (Mello et al., 2012a; Mello et al., 2012b). This work was extended to determine dietary effects of alternative feedstuffs and mitigation of oxidation in raw and cooked ground beef (Dierks et al., 2016; Cleveland, 2015; Martin et al., 2016). Additionally, Legako et al. (2016) identified groups of volatile compounds positively correlated with overall liking from Prime and Low Choice strip loins. These data can be used to identify off-odor volatiles that are linked to lipid oxidation. Exploring alternatives to improve and maintain the consistency of sensory attributes is essential to maintain U.S beef competitive globally.
There are multiple ways to improve the palatability of beef. One is to increase the length of aging, which has long been known to increase tenderness. There has been a recent resurgence in dry-aged beef by the meat industry. Yet there is surprisingly little known about the ideal conditions under which dry aging effects tenderness. Recommendations on time, temperature, duration, air flow, and relative humidity are generally broad. Very few studies have fully characterized the ideal conditions for dry aging. Sitz et al. (2006) have shown that not all consumers like the flavor of dry aged beef. The extent to which this is because of less than ideal aging conditions is not known.
Of course, using the proper cut of beef can go a long way to meeting consumer expectations. New beef cuts provide the advantage of being consistent in flavor and tenderness, have the potential to add value for processors and producers, and reduce confusion in the meat case with well-defined products. Additionally, there are new enzymes and ingredients in the food industry that might be used to augment meat enhancement solutions. The efficacy of these new enzymes and ingredients in meat should be examined.
According to USDA market reports, slaughter weights for fed cattle are at all-time highs, and average over 100 pounds per head above the 5-year average. The market has changed to reflect these increased slaughter weights by lowering discounts for heavier carcasses. It is not uncommon to see hot carcass weights in excess of 950 pounds at many large packers. Along with these increased carcass weights, subcutaneous fat and to a less extent ribeye areas have increased as well (Igo et al., 2013). The chilling dynamic and postmortem metabolism that can ultimately affect the eating quality of meat from these larger carcasses has not been thoroughly investigated, and much of the information found in the literature is dated and not necessarily applicable to the larger carcasses produced today (Lochner et al., 1980; Miller et al., 1997; Saleem & Majeed, 2014; Savell et al., 2005). In addition, the National Beef Tenderness Survey found large variations in postmortem handling and tenderness as well as greater variation in cut sizes and weights (Guelke et al., 2013)
Carcass Fabrication, Meat Processing, and Food Safety
Adding value on novel beef cuts can continue to improve carcass values. Muscle profiling research must be conducted in order to upgrade under-utilized beef cuts. Over the last decade novel beef cuts such as the flat-iron steak, Denver cut, Delmonico steak and Bonanza cut were developed by exploring different fabrication techniques. Continuing this line of research is essential to increase the number of alternative cuts for export.
Seeking new sustainable and efficient beef production practices will contribute to reduced production costs, which is also a priority for the industry since the majority of international markets are sensitive to price changes. Furthermore, developing new alternative beef cuts that fit in international markets may also increase exports and internal revenues.
Food safety standards are mandatory for international trade since foodborne disease outbreaks raise significant awareness about quality and can harm industry reputation. Major concerns regarding meat safety are most commonly related to bacterial pathogens such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. Previous outbreaks of E. coli in the U.S. raised significant awareness about the quality of U.S. beef worldwide. Over the last couple of decades, efforts to control pathogens associated with beef consumption were made a top priority by government agencies, private companies and research institutions. Different types of interventions and multiple hurdle systems were introduced to control contamination during harvest and processing. Although significant improvement was observed, there is still a need to improve robust systems to maximize control of E. coli and Salmonella since both bacteria still pose a risk to human health (CDC, 2014).
Animal protein is a complete source of proteins and is rich in other important nutrients. Lipids play an important role to maintaining adequate cholesterol levels, hormonal activities, and brain development (Georgieff, 2007). Diets rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are important to maintain brain activities and to prevent cardiovascular, metabolic, and neurodegenerative pathologies (Echeverría et al., 2016). On the other hand, diets with high saturated fats are associated with increase of LDL cholesterol, heart disease, and stroke. Moreover, in a study investigating the impacts of zinc methionine supplementation on protein expression and feedlot performance of calf-fed Holstein steers, Hergenreder et al. (2015) documented changes in intramuscular fatty acid composition, potentially associated with the desaturation of C18 fatty acids.
Fat composition is directly related to flavor development (Calkins & Hodgen, 2007). Additionally, higher marbling leads to positive effects on tenderness, juiciness, flavor and palatability (Emerson et al., 2014). Legako et al. (2015) reported that marbling content of various USDA quality grades changed fatty acid composition of both neutral and polar lipid fractions. The authors also demonstrated these changes were influenced by cooking. Therefore, since better eating experience is dependent on higher fat content and fatty acid composition, there is an immediate need to optimize fat composition of beef in order to supply products with improved nutritional profile that provide desirable flavor. Improving nutrient composition such as fatty acids profile without compromising fat content is a key factor for elevating the overall quality of U.S. beef going forward.
Meat Consumption and Human Health
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), held a panel with 22 participants in France to evaluate carcinogenicity of red and processed meats. The IARC concluded that meats might pose a risk to human health and classified processed meats as “carcinogenic” and red meat as “probably carcinogenic” to humans. However, IARC conclusions lack in objectivity. Additionally, the classification methods IARC used to determine if compounds or whole foods are carcinogenic are not clearly defined and pose a real economic risk to the U.S. beef industry (de Mello, 2015).
The association of meat consumption with colorectal cancer (CRC) and other carcinomas has been widely discussed in the literature (Corpet et al., 2014; Dragsted et al., 2014; Oostindjer et al., 2014; Van Hecke et al., 2015). Studies that evaluated possible effects of meat consumption on cancer approached red meat-associated agents including saturated fat, salt, Trimethylamine–N-oxide (TMAO), environmental pollutants, and polycyclic aromatic carcinogens (Kim et al., 2013). However, none of which are specific for red meat. Additionally, it has been suggested that specific substances in red meat such as N-nitroso compounds and heme iron are associated with CRC, but endogenous reactions seem to naturally decrease potential carcinogenic effects of these substances (Alisson-Silva et al., 2016). Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand and clarify the association of red meat consumption with carcinogenic effects.
Animal Health and Disease Risk
The emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases can have enormous impacts on societies. Between 1940 and 2004, Jones et al. (2008) found that 335 (or 60 percent) emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) in the United States were zoonotic, with 72 percent originating from wildlife. Trends suggest that the frequency of EIDs will continue to increase, especially with the growing interface between wildlife-domestic animals-humans (King, 2004).
The economic losses associated with emerging, highly contagious zoonotic diseases can be significant. According to the World Bank (2010), the direct costs (e.g., costs to public and animal health services and producer compensation for culled animals) and indirect costs (e.g., trade and tourism) of outbreaks during the 2000s surpassed $20 billion and $200 billion, respectively. One recent example is the 2014-2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in the United States. It was estimated that the costs to the federal government was almost $900 million dollars (Johansson et al., 2016).
By combining the increase in frequency of EIDs, potential consequences on human and livestock mortality and morbidity, and the economic losses associated with such outbreaks, there is a need to develop scientific approaches to gather and understand information about incentivizing producers to increase biosecurity practices. Increased biosecurity practices could result in fewer animal health events, slower spread of a disease and increased reporting of an event by producers. More broadly this focus on retaining and improving sound animal health and national disease status is key to the economic viability of the U.S. beef industry.
Review of ongoing CRIS projects
We are unaware of any ongoing CRIS projects proposing to integrate research on issues covered in this proposed project.
Identify ongoing market risk associated with domestic livestock protocols to the U.S. beef industry. Improve quality, safety, and domestic and international marketability of U.S. beef products by examining palatability attributes, developing and applying novel food safety interventions, exploring metagenomics to investigate food safety and antimicrobial resistance, increasing shelf life, developing novel products from variety meat items, and developing innovate carcass fabrication techniques.
Determine how changes in beef demand, marketing behavior, and market concentration have influenced the supply chain for beef in the United States. Determine how increased vertical integration and market concentration has affected the competitive market forces along the beef supply chain and the competitive position of U.S. beef in international markets.
Improve nutrient profile of beef and identify constituents of beef that influence flavor and healthfulness. Create knowledge on the relationship between human disease mechanisms and the nutritional profile of red meat.
Improve understanding of biosecurity policies to mitigate risk of adverse health or disease events within the U.S. beef industry. Determine how alternative indemnity policy situations and governmental cost share programs impact voluntary biosecurity efforts and hence competitiveness of U.S. beef.
Objective 1, Stations Involved: NV, MT, NE, MI, CA, MS, ND, CO
Currently, NV (De Mello) is studying different combinations of processing aids, physical, and chemical interventions to control Salmonella and E. coli on beef. Additionally, specific bacteriophage selection for E. coli is ongoing and will be tested in simulated industry applications.
MT (Yeoman) is studying the early influences of the establishing gut microbiota and their interactions with the maturing calf immune system to identify novel microbiological methods of preserving animal health prior to slaughter. Additionally, the association of select gut microbes with production traits are being examined to optimize production.
NE (Calkins) Intricacies in the dry aging process will be defined at Nebraska by modeling physical and sensory changes under a variety of dry aging conditions. Additionally, the biology of tenderization will be studied using the methods defined at the University of Nebraska. For example, it appears feeding distillers grains alters the fatty acid composition of the organelles within the muscle cell that regulate the amount of free intracellular calcium. Consequently, they have a different time-course of calcium release which impacts proteolysis and tenderization. Assessment of various feedstuffs and supplements, along with various meat handling practices, will increase our understanding of the process by which eating quality can be improved.
NE (Calkins and Sullivan) will investigate how exogenous proteolytic enzymes might improve the palatability of enhanced beef. NE will examine the influence of a variety of processing conditions (including pH, temperature, and time) on the effectiveness of these enzymes to impact flavor, texture, and desirability.
NE (Sullivan) is studying factors influencing the shelf life (microbial and quality) of ground and value added beef products. Additionally, ingredient and high-pressure processing technologies are being investigated as strategies to control E. coli in beef products and the impact on quality characteristics.
MI (Ortega) is assessing consumer demand for US beef in China. This work will inform the beef industry and supporting organizations on optimal marketing strategies to pursue following the 13-year ban of US beef imports in China. Demand for specific beef attributes, including credence characteristics will be assessed.
CA (Oltjen) Our multi-disciplinary team, which is headed by our Cooperative Extension Animal Management Systems Specialist, has decided to focus on sustainability of beef production, which broadly defined, includes animal care and health, production and processing, information transfer and marketing, and factors influencing domestic and international demand. Thus competitiveness depends on measures to improve beef quality, safety and value. We will provide suggestions for aligning production of beef with consumer preferences, to identify impediments to transmission of information between producers and consumers along with suggested resolution approach alternatives, to identify implications of issues around animal health for individual producer and overall U.S. beef industry competitiveness, to have direct interaction with industry and government groups, and to publish academic papers (peer-reviewed articles, fact sheets, Experiment Station reports, etc.) on issues directly stemming from this project.
MS (Dinh) is studying effects of oxidative stress on beef quality attributes. Oxidative stress can occur in grass-finished cattle grazing on tall fescue, which can induce heat stress if infected with toxic endophyte. We are in the final stage of an ongoing study to investigate the effects of endophyte-infected tall fescue seeds on carcass characteristics and beef quality. In addition, we are investigating changes of metmyoglobin reductase system during storage of ground beef. It is hypothesized that beef metmyoglobin can be the substrate for some reductases from spoilage bacteria. This can be a novel source of beef color preservatives. We are also investigating the use of electrostatic spray of antioxidants and antimicrobials as a portable enhancement technology to improve beef quality and safety.
ND (Maddock) is evaluating how increases in carcass size is affecting postmortem metabolism, especially as related to declines in pH and temperature and how these potential changes are influencing meat quality traits. We are investigating how intrinsic enzymes such as calpain act differently as postmortem metabolism is altered by changes in carcass size. Preliminary data relating carcass chill rates to tenderness, meat color, and calpain activity have found that differences in temperature declines can be associated with differences in tenderness for muscles from the round. We plan to continue this line of research by working in a commercial packing facility to first determine the relationship between carcass size and postmortem metabolism and second to determine if any changes in postmortem metabolism are related to changes in beef quality.
CO (Woerner and Belk) The Center for Meat Safety and Quality (CMSQ) at Colorado State University is focusing on developing novel products for international markets using variety meats and cold bonding technologies. Additionally, this group is working extensively in the area of red meat flavor chemistry and the development of instrumentation for the segregation of flavor intensities and off-flavors. Additionally, this group will focus on innovative carcass fabrication and the development and redefining of cuts for domestic an international markets. Also, the CMSQ and the Microbial Ecology Group (MEG) continues to focus on the development of food safety interventions, and is intensely investigating the incidence and causes for antimicrobial resistance for bacterial pathogens in livestock production using metagenomics.
Objective 2, Stations Involved: CA, MS, KS
Currently, CA (Fausti) is currently working on two issues under objective 2: a) Investigating the economic and socioeconomic factors contributing to the decline of small and medium sized feedlots in the U.S., and b) identifying the economic factors influencing the current evolution of alternative marketing arrangements in the fed cattle industry and how this structural change in marketing behavior is effecting the competitive nature of the fed cattle market. Data collection is currently on going. Data include fed cattle slaughter volume sold by live weight and dressed weight in the cash market, forward contract market, and formula market. Econometric analysis will follow. Data on the economic status of small and medium sized feedlots was collected for the State of South Dakota. Econometric analysis will be conducted in the future.
Currently, MS (Coatney) is a) developing a testable theory to analyze the potential competitive effects of multiproduct mergers, as well as an antitrust decision rule regarding the required economies of scope to evaluate the likelihood these types of mergers are anticompetitive, specifically related to the meat processing sector, b) laboratory testing of the competitive implications of linking forward contract base prices to cash market prices, and c) empirically analyzing the effectiveness of auctioneer strategies to enhance competition among bidders.
KS (Pendell; Tonsor et al.) is working on related issues tied to mandatory price reporting (MPR) and the impact of market structure and confidentiality rules on the ultimately reported information available via public data producers have access to (Parcell et al., 2016).
Objective 3, Stations involved: NV, NE, MS, CO
NV (de Mello) is developing techniques to mechanically incorporate polyunsaturated fatty acids in beef in order to improve nutritional values. Additional studies will be performed to evaluate the effects of purified Omega 3 oils on flavor by identifying key volatile compounds that might lead to off flavor and how to minimize subjective perception of those during consumption.
NE (Calkins) is studying changes in flavor compounds that occur during wet and dry aging that impact palatability.
MS (Dinh) is studying effects of oxidation on beef flavor compounds, especially free amino acids, nucleotides, and unsaturated fatty acids in polar lipid fraction. Future studies also include oxidation products such as those from cholesterol that may pose a risk on human health.
CO (Woerner and Belk) is working to profile flavor changes in beef related to production, animal breed, postmortem aging, grade level, and is investigating muscle to muscle variation. Additionally, this team is working to develop instrumentation to add value to meat products by differentiating flavor intensity and reducing off-flavors. Also, this team will continue to focus on developing nutritional information for red meat in order to better understand its nutritional value and to update international nutrient databases.
Objective 4, Stations involved: KS
Currently, KS (Pendell and Tonsor) have two active efforts. One examines viability of alternative governmental approaches to encouraging additional voluntary biosecurity efforts by livestock producers. The second effort is focused on more narrowly examining human decisions aspects of why only a subset of best management, or expert-recommended biosecurity practices are implemented by producers.
Measurement of Progress and Results
- Discover novel technologies and preservatives to preserve and/or improve beef shelf life.
- Disseminate information on the implications of the effects caused by oxidative stress on beef quality.
- Disseminate information on the mechanisms through which oxidative stress influences beef quality.
- Transfer knowledge of changes in meat composition caused by lipid and protein oxidation.
- Provide suggestions for aligning production of beef and beef products with consumer preferences.
- New carcass utilization and processing technologies will be explored with suggestions regarding implementation provided.
- Provide recommendations for dry aging of beef will be created.
- Identy impediments to transmission of information between producers and consumers will be identified along with suggested resolution approach alternatives.
- Identify issues around animal health for individual producer and overall U.S. beef industry competitiveness.
- Update assessments of beef demand determinants.
- Provide guidance regarding retail beef product labeling desires by consumers and industry implications.
- Direct interaction with industry and government groups in at least two of the five annual meetings.
- • Publish at least 40 academic papers (peer-reviewed articles, fact sheets, Experiment Station reports, etc.) on issues directly stemming from this project.
- Make at least 10 invited presentations at meetings organized by industry or government groups.
- • Provide econometric analysis on how changes in beef market integration is affecting price discovery, price transparency, and market efficiency.
- Explore opportunities to use exogenous enzymes in beef.
- • Provide guidance on how to increase efficiency of animal health and disease risk mitigation efforts by the government and producers.
Outcomes or Projected Impacts
- Industry will be better informed about consumer decision making and will be better able to incorporate this information in to their production decisions.
- Industry will be able to take advantage of price premiums to enhance their long term profitability.
- Industry will be able to introduce more efficient production and processing practices to meet consumer needs.
- Industry will be better informed of production practices suggested by Beef Quality Assurance.
- Industry will have greater insight on how changes in market participant behavior are affecting the efficiency of the beef marketing system as well as how beef quality and production efficiency affect industry participant profitability.
- Project outcomes will spur industry adoption of new fabrication, processing, and related developments to industry. This will lead to increased competitiveness of U.S. beef industry in both domestic and international markets.
- The beef industry will have better information on how to dry age beef.
Milestones(2019):Hold at least one joint organized symposium at an agricultural economics, animal science, and/or meat science professional annual meeting.
(2020):Have at least one project member provide a keynote or similarly high profile presentation related to this project's objectives at an international professional meeting.
(2021):Observe tangible evidence of reduced microbial contamination of beef reducing human illness, increased understanding of how implementing traceability and animal identification systems impacts different segments of the U.S. beef industry, and/or expanded adoption of new fabrication and processing practices by packers.
Projected ParticipationView Appendix E: Participation
Project participants have a history of information sharing activities, cooperation, and productivity. Many of the project scientists have been involved in this effort previously, some for decades. Their expertise and productivity are well documented in previous accomplishment reports. New scientists have been added to enhance the scope and multidisciplinary nature of the project. Several of the scientists involved in this project have extension appointments. This will enhance the dissemination of research results to the general public through presentations and popular publications. There are no artificial boundaries where the research component waits for the outreach function to interact with the information generated from project efforts.
The technical committee will promote the flow of new information between the laboratory and industry to benefit the ultimate consumer. Most project scientists interact with outreach personnel at their respective institutions and at regional and national levels. A number of the Outcomes and Impacts lend themselves to outreach education activities. Various media can be used to educate producers, processor, policy makers, and consumers. It is intended that preparation of peer reviewed publications, presentations at professional meetings, and other means of disseminating project results to professional audiences be part of the ongoing project effort. This group also will work collaboratively with industry and government leaders to provide additional insight into solutions for many of the emerging challenges facing the livestock and meat industries. This will be accomplished by inviting these individuals to annual meetings and requesting their input into research directions for the future and their critique of ongoing research. When appropriate, published proceedings, or other published work will be released to the public.
All members of the technical committee are eligible for office, regardless of sponsoring agency affiliation. The chairperson, in consultation with the administrative advisor, notifies the technical committee members of the time and place of meetings and presides at meetings of the technical committee. The chairperson is responsible for preparing or supervising the preparation of the annual report of the regional project. The vice-chairperson is responsible for the organization of the annual meeting and preparation of the agenda. The secretary records the minutes and performs other duties assigned by the technical committee or the administrative advisor. Leadership of the technical committee consists of chairperson, vice chairperson, and secretary. Nominations are taken from the floor at the annual meeting for secretary. Secretary moves up to vice chairperson the next year and the vice-chairperson moves up to chairperson. The design of this project is to facilitate interaction between economists and animal/meat scientists to improve competitiveness and value of U.S. beef. The committee is organized to have a balance of committee members from the scientific disciplines of agricultural economics and animal/meat science. Attempts will be made to rotate leadership alternate years between animal/meat scientists and agricultural economists.
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