Beef Camp participants look at a ribeye image captured on University of Idaho Extension Educator Tianna Fife’s ultrasound machine.
Local Youth Make the Grade at Beef Camp
Mackay– Ever wonder why the steak you ate last night was tender? Or why it was tough? Local youth beef producers learned how a steak becomes tough or tender at the recent Beef Camp held at the Custer County Fair Grounds in Mackay. Just weeks before many of them were headed to the county fair to exhibit their market beef projects, 4H and FFA members learned why end product quality is so important to the beef industry.
“Beef producers must know how to produce a high quality product so every consumer has a positive eating experience each and every time they consume beef, or they will choose a different protein source the next time they go to the grocery store or restaurant,” says Sarah Baker, University of Idaho Extension Educator for Custer County. “By educating youth beef producers in 4H and FFA programs, they learn proper management techniques that enhance beef quality at an early age.”
Idaho beef producers sponsored the annual event with a grant from the Idaho Beef Council. The event was conducted by University of Idaho Extension beef team members, Sarah Baker (Custer County), Tianna Fife (Twin Falls County) and Dr. Benton Glaze (Twin Falls R&E Center).
Daylong activities and hands-on workshops focused on end-product quality and stressed the importance of raising a high quality beef product. One of the most popular sessions included a taste panel, where different cuts and grades of beef were cooked and sampled. Students learned the factors that affect the palatability of beef, including how genetics, feeding, and management techniques influence the eating quality of the steers they are raising.
Students practiced measuring ribeyes and backfat thickness, determined marbling scores, and participated in a retail meat identification contest. Other activities included identifying various feedstuffs and discussing why what you feed your steer affects your placing in the quality class at fair. The Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Trailer was on hand to discuss how proper management techniques enhance beef quality and product value. An ultra sound demonstration was given to determine back fat thickness, ribeye area, and percent intramuscular fat on two steers and showcase differences among them.
For more information on Beef Camp or how you can participate, please contact your local Extension Office or visit the Beef Team’s website at: http://www.extension.uidaho.edu/beef/