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Check-Off or NCBA Dollars

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Cowpuncher

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The Denver Post today included a lengthy article about how the NCBA had engineered the development of the flat iron steak spending some $300,000 and many years of research.

There was no mention that Check-Off funds were used or that that the check-off was involved in any way. The Denver office of NCBA was given as the source for the article.

This article was taken from the Wall Street Journal last week, which is usually pretty careful in reporting.

Question: Was this effort funded by check-off money. If so, why was no mention made of it.

If the NCBA funded this research and made this discovery with their own funds (which I doubt) I would like to thank them for their generosity.
 

Mike

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We would certainly like to see that article CP. Can I go to Denver Post and find it?
 

Cowpuncher

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Mike,

I tried to find this on the Denver Post website, but no luck. The original article was in the Wall Street Journal this week and the Post has a weekend section called Wall Street West that included the article.

Might find it by looking on the WSJ website since the article was there first.

CP
 

HAY MAKER

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New steaks shoulder their way onto the grill
Thursday, June 30, 2005

By Katy McLaughlin, The Wall Street Journal


With beef prices near record highs -- think $9-a-pound ribeyes -- the beef industry is looking for new ways to sell more parts of the cow as "steak." As a result, backyard chefs this Fourth of July are likely to find an array of new and unfamiliar cuts of beef at the meat counter.

These cuts -- which can have unwieldy names, such as the "shoulder center ranch steak," "shoulder top blade flat iron steak," and "petite tender medallion" -- have been increasingly showing up at restaurants, largely because they cost less than traditional T-bones and porterhouses. Today, 20,000 restaurants serve the new steaks, up from 10,000 only a year ago, according to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a trade group.

Now, an increasing number of supermarkets around the country are carrying these as well. Unlike the classic top loins and filet mignons, which come from the center of the animal, the new steaks -- known as value cuts within the industry -- are from the chuck (shoulder) and the round (hind quarters) of the cow.

Beef prices have been remarkably high for two years, partly because of the rising popularity of red meat amid the low-carbohydrate-diet craze. The average retail price for a pound of beef in May was $4.26, according to the Department of Agriculture, just pennies less than the record of $4.32, set in 2003.

Prices didn't fall even during the mad-cow scare of 2003, when a Canadian cow was found to be infected with disease. Industry analysts and meat retailers say last week's announcement of a new case of the disease in a U.S. animal isn't expected to affect prices.

Filet mignon now averages nearly $14 a pound. By contrast, a flat-iron steak costs less than $5 a pound, on average, says FreshLook Marketing Group, which analyzes fresh food sales. In general, the value cuts cost as much as 20 percent less than those from the center of the cow, according to the NCBA, the trade association.

The new cuts are the product of the industry's drive to re-map the way a cow's carcass is butchered -- something that hasn't changed much in more than a half-century. The NCBA's effort began in 1995, when producers realized that demand for cuts from the shoulder and hind quarters, such as pot roast and stew meat, was falling. The group spent about $300,000 on a "muscle profiling study" to get a better handle on the taste and texture of all parts of the animal.

Bucky Gwartney, a meat scientist for the NCBA, designed the study, in which he and scientists from the University of Nebraska and the University of Florida analyzed 5,616 cuts of meat from the chuck and round areas. They submitted the cuts to various tests, including chemical analysis and "sheer force testing" (a cutting procedure that determines, in technical terms, meat tenderness).

Panels of trained tasters ate samples of each cut to see how they stacked up. Mr. Gwartney says his personal favorite is the petite tender, citing "the shape, the versatility, the tenderness, and the flavor."

The study results released in 2000 enabled the industry to identify eight key value cuts, four of which are among the 10 most tender cuts in the beef carcass. These include the flat iron, second in tenderness only to filet mignon, the shoulder center steak, the petite center and the sirloin tip center steak.

Beef experts who aren't producers vary in their opinions of the new steaks. Laurent Tourondel, the chef at BLT Steak, a highly rated and expensive steak-house in Manhattan, sometimes serves a flat-iron steak for $28, compared with $42 for a New York strip. The flat iron is "an amazing piece of meat, for the flavor it has," Mr. Tourondel says. Jeff Lyons, senior general merchandise manager for the Costco chain, says he doesn't sell the new cuts because "the loin is where you get the best steak."

Ed Steinmetz, vice president of meat and seafood at Giant Eagle, a chain of 221 Eastern supermarkets, says that while his stores will cut flat irons for customers who want them, he recommends traditional cuts such as chuck eye steaks and top sirloins to people who want a less expensive cut of meat to grill.

The most widely available of the new steaks is the flat iron, sold by retailers ranging from Giant Eagle to the mail-order and specialty store concern Omaha Steaks, which added a marinated version for fajitas to its offerings last month. The next most popular cut is the shoulder petite tender, which is being touted as the beef industry's answer to the easy-to-cook boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Some chains, like the 69 Marsh stores and the 38 LoBills, almost all in Indiana and Ohio, carry all eight cuts, including the less common sirloin tip center steak and the shoulder center steak.

Although the new cuts are sold by 2,000 markets, finding them still can be a challenge. Jay Carlson, a co-owner of a restaurant-supply company in Philadelphia, first learned about flat irons last summer when he saw them listed on a client's menu. None of his local markets carry them, so he bought some frozen ones from Omaha Steaks and grilled them. "They were very lean, tender," Mr. Carlson says. This week, he plans to canvass upscale butcher shops in the area to locate fresh flat irons to grill for the Fourth of July.

Another complication for food shoppers: baffling nomenclature. Steak names already were hard to figure out because they vary widely by region; the same cut may be called a New York strip or a Kansas City steak.The new steaks are adding to the confusion by sporting one name in restaurants and another in markets. Restaurants serve a "ranch" steak; retailers call it a "shoulder center steak." The flat-iron steak, the most popular of the new cuts, is a version of a shoulder top blade steak, but some supermarkets sell a shoulder top blade steak that isn't a flat iron. If the words "flat iron" aren't on the label, ask the meat manager for clarification.

For consumers who aren't looking to trade in their filet mignon for flat irons, there is some good news on the horizon. Beef prices are declining at the wholesale level, and some big-box stores, like Costco, which react quickly to wholesale price changes, already have lowered some steak prices by as much as $2 a pound. In many supermarkets, the prices for steak haven't yet fallen.
 
A

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BUT BUT BUT---- I thought MRJ said that the checkoff developed the flat iron steak... Isn't that right MRJ :???: :?

Checkoff (tax) dollars should not be used to promote a Political Action Group :mad: :mad:

I was told the other day that their is a TV ad now playing advertising Tyson meats- at the end of the ad the NCBA and checkoff logos appear....I don't watch much TV so haven't even seen any Tyson ads...

Might be a recall vote coming before they think.....
 

mrj

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NCBA (Federation of State Beef Councils) and NCBA (Policy/Dues division) both are housed in the same building as is the CBB. The reason is to SAVE MONEY, and they do work together, with staff time carefully accounted for and allocated to the proper accounts for payment to assure Checkoff dollars are NOT spent improperly.

Don't forget that both the Federation of State Beef Councils and the Policy/Dues division are NCBA, but the funding is separate, and the Fed. div. has people from many beef producer organizations other than NCBA on it. My bet is there are some R-CALF members there, too.

Please remain calm and direct your questions to anyone at www.beef.org Tuesday morning. Woudn't want any of you overdosing on hysteria or euphoria thinking you had somehow trapped NCBA Policy Division in a compromising situation.

BTW, why would you think NCBA can control what some reporter or newspaper chooses to write? There are some who can and do twist, spin, leave out important points, or add their own stuff.

MRJ
 

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