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Whats Your Beef?

by Bev Berens

Published: Friday, May 13, 2022

Telling Your Story

Cattle outnumber people in a total of nine states—Oklahoma, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana and Nebraska.

It's National Beef Month, and the cattle are headlining the show. Beef demand is strong and reflects in market price. The cow herd has shrunk by 2 percent from 2021, Whether beef producers throughout all sectors are profitable is a question beyond my pay scale. But coupling the factors of demand, strong prices and a slightly tightened herd, the outlook is good at least theoretically.

The industry isn't all sunshine and roses. JBS has agreed to a $52.5 million settlement for price fixing. It appears to have been going on for a long time and has cost producers millions. The plaintiff's attorney, Dan Gustufson, said the settlement could be an "icebreaker case" in a Des Moines Register article. The settlement could lead to more settlements in the case, which also implicates Tyson Foods, Cargill and National Beef. These four companies control more than 80 percent of the U.S. beef market.

Is this an admission of guilt on behalf of JBS or is it just a symbolic gesture of swatting away a pesky fly? My big question is, who gets the money? Will farmers and ranchers get a check in the mail? (I doubt it.) Will the grocers who filed the lawsuit get a windfall? (Maybe.)

Here on this home front, our beef supply is a mixed bag of straight from the farm and grocery store or small butcher shop purchases. The convenience of a freezer filled with beef is a luxury, but I'm not going to lie about the fact that I am a serious price shopper when it comes to groceries and meat.

Not surprisingly, the ribeye steak is America's favorite steak cut. It is a tasty, succulent cut, perfect for grilling and a celebratory meal.

America's second favorite overall meal is a cheeseburger, trailing behind the Thanksgiving turkey.

There are so many ways to cook beef and bring a delicious meal to the table. Instant pressure cookers delivered a new cooking method to younger cooks, while some of us on the other end of the spectrum were already familiar with a meal sized pressure cooker used on the stove top.

What are your favorites when it comes to beef? Is it a steak or a good old-fashioned burger that tops your list? What condiments top your perfect burger? Do you like it cooked until the pink is gone, or do you prefer the outsides seared and the insides so red the meat is still cold from the frig? What is your favorite cooking method or beef seasoning?

What's my beef? Here it is for what it's worth:

Steak: New York strip, medium, not overly seasoned, small amount of A1 on the side.

Burger: cooked medium, topped with diced green olives mixed with mayo, tomato, cheese and lettuce.

Cooking method: roast in the crockpot, seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, smothered with sliced onion and green pepper, liquid base of water, the leftover coffee from the morning pot, Worcestershire sauce and a dash of white vinegar.

Favorite all around beef dish: tough choice, but a slow cooked beef roast with mashed potatoes, gravy, and garden-fresh green beans is my go-to choice.

How about you? Will you be enjoying an extra meal or two of American beef this month? Whatever your beef is, enjoy it this month with a little extra awareness of celebrating the heritage that is American beef this month.

Bev Berens is a freelance writer and FFA parent from Holland, Mich. She can be contacted at

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