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Checkoff brings artist of beef

FARGO, N.D. -- About 100 butchers and meat cutters from throughout North Dakota and western Minnesota had a rare professional development opportunity in Fargo, in part sponsored by the beef checkoff.

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Kari Underly of Chicago wrote the book, "The Art of Beef Cutting" and is known for helping to develop value-added cuts of beef, takes apart a beef carcass in an all-day butchering seminar, sponsored by the North Dakota Beef Commission, the North Dakota Grocers Association, and hosted at the North Dakota State University Meat Science laboratory in Fargo, N.D. Photo by Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO, N.D. - About 100 butchers and meat cutters from throughout North Dakota and western Minnesota had a rare professional development opportunity in Fargo, in part sponsored by the beef checkoff.

The North Dakota Beef Commission, in cooperation with the North Dakota Grocers Association, North Dakota State University Meat Science Department and Cargill Meats coordinated the beef-based seminar, featuring a master butcher.

Kari Underly of Chicago wrote the book, "The Art of Beef Cutting" and is known for helping to develop value-added cuts of beef such as the Flat Iron Steak and the Denver Cut. She is a third-generation meat cutter and was on staff for the National Livestock and Meat Board, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and has provided consulting for developing retail cuts. Underly started the session by breaking down a whole beef carcass, which is something that some butchers never see because they see "boxed beef," which has been broken down into the primal cuts.

Todd Anderson, meat department manager for the Grand Forks Air Force Base Commissary, says he's worked with whole carcasses but his two younger cutters have not. "We get all boxed beef," he says. "We can't even order a carcass anymore."

He says the commissary sells "a lot of beef" with thousands of customers, including retired and active military. "We're looking for how to better serve the customer and give them a variety of products," he says, including the Flat Iron steak and the "tri-tip," which is a cut from the bottom sirloin subprimal cut.

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"It's important to try to better the product we can give to our customer," Anderson says.

So much change

Bateman says the event drew personnel, including those who work for corporations that provide beef to grocery stores and retail outlets.

"There's so much that's changing, so much that's new and so many opportunities for them to market beef in new and different ways," she says. Some companies might want to provide smaller portions of rib steaks, or offer "new cuts that might be offered at a lower cost but may still be acceptable to a consumer that has a lesser meat budget." Some of the new steak products are out of the chuck and round areas of the beef that historically were ground or used for pot roasts.

North Dakota's checkoff is $2 per head, collected every time an animal changes ownership. That includes a $1 national checkoff and a $1 state checkoff. That raises about $2 million totally in North Dakota. The state commission is in charge of 50 cents of every national dollar, as well as its full $1. So, the state controls about $1.5 million, of which some is designated toward national programs, which reach consumers.

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTALIVESTOCK
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