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NCBA offers new tools for beef consumers

Consumers can face some confusing choices when they buy beef. New tools from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association might make the job a little easier.

Much of the confusion involves terms such as "grain-finished" and "certified organic" One fact sheet examines the most common labels, which are based on U.S. Department of Agriculture definitions.

Consumers often are confused about antibiotic use in cattle, too. Another, at addresses those questions and explains what the Beef Quality Assurance Program is doing to educate producers.

"Today's consumer demands transparency and more information about how their food, including beef, is raised and grown," Mandy Carr, senior executive director of science and product solutions for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, says in a written statement. "Cattle farmers and ranchers are committed to providing answers to their questions."

The new tools are offered through the Beef Checkoff Program. Established as part of the 1985 farm bill, the centerpiece of federal food and agricultural policies, the checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle and a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products, according to information from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, which is a contractor the the program.

The NCBA, which has offices in Denver and Washington, D.C., is the marketing organization and trade association for America's 1 million cattle farmers and ranchers.

To see the fact sheets or to get answers to other beef-related questions, visit