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Nebraska Goes Big

IANR's expertise in beef is legendary in Nebraska, world

Cattle ranch

By Dan Moser, IANR News

Beef is big business in Nebraska – the state's No. 1 agricultural commodity. Nebraska leads the nation in commercial cattle slaughter and commercial meat production and is second in all cattle on feed.

UNL is active in teaching, research and outreach in serving the industry and consumers. A few examples:

  • The Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln delivers intensive training about all aspects of the beef industry to students in this program, the only one of its kind in the country. Students are taught by not only UNL faculty members but by representatives of the beef industry.

    Students take courses created specifically for the scholars program in addition to their regular degree program coursework. The courses focus on all aspects of the beef industry and provide students opportunities to meet up to 20 experts in the industry, including companies and organizations like the Nebraska Cattlemen.

  • Extension's Nebraska Ranch Practicum provides ranchers cutting edge research in range livestock production from UNL. Natural resources, livestock management and economic reality are integrated throughout the practicum.

    During the three-season class, participants cover a variety of topics including the management and marketing alternatives, plant identification, range conditions and grazing strategies, wildlife management, evaluation of cow body condition scores and beef cattle production systems.

    Participants in a recent class estimated savings of $18.08 per head from what they implemented from the course.

  • UNL's beef muscle profiling research continues to yield new beef products beyond the original, now widely available, flat iron steak. Chris Calkins, meat scientist, has led this effort, which began as a partnership with the University of Florida. Additional cuts of meat developed through this work include the ranch steak, petite tender, Delmonico steak, country-style chuck ribs, America's Beef Roast and the Denver and Sierra cuts.

    These new cuts of meat are a win for consumers, for whom they provide new, often economical choices, and the beef industry, which gets more profit out of each carcass.