Explore Beef News

Date: 11/19/2010

Title: Student Filmmakers Provide “Behind-the-Scenes” Look at Raising Beef

Films Released in Honor of National Farm-City Week, Nov. 19-25

DENVER (November 19, 2010) – The average American is more than three generations removed from farming and ranching, but they’re also more interested than ever in learning where their food comes from. In honor of National Farm-City Week – Nov. 19-25, 2010 – America’s cattle farmers and ranchers are releasing Close-Up on Raising Beef, a film series that provides a unique “behind-the-scenes” view of how beef gets from pasture to plate. Close-Up is a collection of three short documentaries produced by student filmmakers with funding from the Beef Checkoff Program.

National Farm-City Week is a project of the National Farm-City Council – a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the connection between farm families and urban residents. In the spirit of bridging the gap between the 1 percent of people who raise food in this country and the 300 million people who live here, cattle farmers and ranchers opened their doors to three student filmmakers this summer, providing them with grants to produce these short videos. Viewers get to explore raising beef right along with the students, since none of them were raised with close ties to agriculture or the food industry.

“I became interested in learning more about beef production after I took some environmental science classes that touched on the cattle industry,” said filmmaker Michael DeTerra, a senior at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. “My film shows how cattlemen ensure optimal care and handling for their animals and features animal behavioral scientist Temple Grandin. It was thrilling and a real honor to meet her.” Grandin is a pioneer in beef cattle handling, and her life story was featured in the 2010 Emmy-winning HBO movie, Temple Grandin.

Cattle are raised in every state in the nation, and in nearly every type of climate and geography. To give viewers a holistic and objective view, the student filmmakers interviewed more than 30 beef farmers, ranchers and experts in 10 different states.

“Working with the families was an incredibly rewarding experience. Before I met them, I'd never realized the amount of care and attention that goes into farming and ranching – it's really quite amazing,” said Kevin Smith, filmmaker and graduate student at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

Michael, Kevin and Katie, a recent graduate of West Virginia University in Morgantown, W. Va., visited farmers and ranchers in California, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia between May and August, 2010.

“I always enjoy the opportunity to host visitors to the ranch,” said Dave Petty, of Iowa River Ranch in Eldora, Iowa. ”It is with great pride that we share our way of life and that I am able to show visitors that cattle, conservation and the environment all complement each other. With firsthand experience visitors are able to understand how ranchers care for their livestock and land.”

For Close Up on Raising Beef, the filmmakers explored a variety of self-selected topics, including animal welfare, environmental sustainability and the lifestyle and sacrifices associated with being a farmer or rancher. Each student received a $3,000 grant for the expenses related to their film’s production.

The full videos run about 20 minutes each and are available for viewing on www.ExploreBeef.org. Visit the Explore Beef YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/BeefPasturetoPlate to view short cuts of each film.


About the Beef Checkoff 
The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The Checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national Checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.

About the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association 
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association is a contractor to the national Beef Checkoff Program, which is administered by the Cattlemen's Beef Board. Consumer-focused and producer-directed, NCBA and its state beef council partners work together as a marketing organization on behalf of the largest segment of the food and fiber industry.


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