BEEF Camp Educates Youth Beef Producers About End Product Quality in Idaho Baker*, S.D.1 and Fife*, T.E.2 1CusterCounty Extension Educator, University of Idaho Extension, PO Box 160, Challis, Idaho 83226, firstname.lastname@example.org 2Twin Falls County Extension Educator, University of Idaho Extension, 246 Third Ave. E., Twin Falls, Idaho 83301, email@example.com ABSTRACT: The last four national Beef Quality Audits identified many quality challenges in the beef industry including excess external fat, inadequate tenderness, insufficient marbling, and lack of uniformity. A major industry goal was to educate beef producers to select management practices that increase value and quality of beef. This includes youth producers who are raising beef animals in 4-H and FFA. It is important for youth to recognize the impact they have on consumer demand, and ultimately the industry with their management decisions. In response, a proposal was submitted to the Idaho Beef Council (IBC) to fund BEEF Camp, a youth “end-product quality” educational event. The curriculum for BEEF Camp includes presentations, hands-on activities, and live animal demonstrations. Topics include Measuring Carcass Quality, Meat Quality Attributes, Feeds Affecting End-Product Quality, Selecting Market Steers, and Beef Quality Assurance. Hands-on activities include conducting a Taste Panel and a Beef Cut Identification contest. To date, three BEEF Camps have been conducted with over 100 youth reached thus far. Scores from pre– to post-tests increased from 42.5% to 90.7%, respectively. Participants ranked the overall experience of the program and the educational materials provided as 1.4 on a scale of 1-5 (1=outstanding, 2=good, 3=average, 4=poor, 5=unacceptable). All BEEF Camp attendees also indicated they learned something new regarding the relationship of livestock management and beef quality. It is intended that the partnership between the University of Idaho Extension and the IBC will continue and BEEF Camp will continue to educate youth beef producers in Idaho. INTRODUCTION: Consumers expect consistent, high-quality beef with every purchase. Therefore, it is essential that Idaho beef producers understand how livestock management practices affect beef quality. This includes youth producers who are raising beef animals as members in 4-H and FFA. Some of the key themes found in previous National Beef Quality Audits have included the need for more producer education, excessive size and fat and insufficient marbling in beef carcasses, and the need for balance between production goals and end- product goals. Addressing these points in youth education aids in supporting a solid foundation as they become involved in the beef industry in the future. It is important for youth to recognize the impact they have on consumer demand, and ultimately the industry. Every management decision, from selecting and feeding cattle to implementing new technologies, affects not only profitability, but also beef quality. Youth need to be exposed to available resources and tools and understand how to incorporate them into an operation in a way that provides maximum benefit. OBJECTIVES: Educate youth beef producers about beef end product quality using a variety of teaching methods, including hands-on activities. Increase youth’s understanding of how management practices affect beef quality for consumers.METHODS:A proposal was submitted to the Idaho Beef Council (IBC) to fund BEEF Camp, a youth “end-product quality” educational event. The curriculum for BEEF Camp includespresentations, hands-on activities, and live animal demonstrations focused on end product quality, all which stress the importance of raising a high quality beef product. OUTCOMES:BEEF Camp is intended to be a one day event and normally lasts 4-6 hours. BEEF Camp is focused on 5 key topics: To date, three BEEF Camps have been conducted with over 100 youth reached thus1. Measuring Carcass Quality: Presentations focus on how quality and yield grades of beef carcasses are determined. Youth then practice measuring ribeye area, far.back-fat thickness, marbling scores, and ultimately determining final quality & yield grades on steaks. Anticipated Time Frame: Presentation: 30 minutes; Hands-on activity: 30 minutes Pre- and post-tests measured an increase in knowledge of beef end product quality issues.2. Meat Quality Attributes: Presentations focus on factors that affect end product quality and what factors affect consumer satisfaction. Youth learn how the Scores from the pre– to post-tests increasedappearance, color, and texture of steaks can affect consumer’s purchasing decisions at retail, as well as how muscle fibers and their anatomy, connective tissue, from 42.5% to 90.7%, respectively (Figure 1).aging, amount of calpastatin, location of cut, and method of cooking all affect the tenderness of beef. Flavor and juiciness factors and their relationship to thepalatability of beef are also discussed. Participants ranked the overall experience of Anticipated Time Frame: Presentation: 45 minutes; Hands-on activity: 30-60 minutes the program and the educational materials provided as 1.4 on a scale of 1-53. How Feeds Affect End-Product Quality: Presentations focus on beef nutrition. Youth practice identifying and weighing various feedstuffs, and learn how protein (1=outstanding, 2=good, 3=average, 4=poor,and energy requirements change during cattle’s lifecycles and stages of production. 5=unacceptable). Anticipated Time Frame: Presentation: 30 minutes; Hands-on activity: 30 minutes All BEEF Camp attendees indicated they4. Selecting Market Steers: Presentations focus on the systems approach to livestock selection and how to select animals that when properly fed and managed, learned something new regarding thewill represent the best in the industry. Youth learn important traits to look for in cattle, including animals with good to excellent muscling, optimum growth and frame, relationship of livestock management and beefand animals with good structure and balance. They also learn to look for animals with the potential to achieve an acceptable quality grade and animals with the potential quality.for yielding a high percentage of retail cuts. Youth are given the opportunity to view ultrasound demonstrations to demonstrate how to determine back-fat thickness,ribeye area, and percent intramuscular fat on live steers. They then evaluate those live steers and compare the various traits discussed earlier. BEEF Camp was instrumental in increasing Anticipated Time Frame: Presentation: 15 minutes; Hands-on activity: 45 minutes the understanding of livestock management and beef quality for youth, parents, and leaders.5. Beef Quality Assurance (BQA): Ethics, injection site management, record keeping, care and husbandry, and animal handling are all discussed during the BQAsegment. Youth get up close and personal with the life-size BQA Trailer, where they learn that proper management techniques do enhance beef quality and product BEEF Camp made youth more aware of howvalue. management practices affect beef quality for Anticipated Time Frame: Presentation: 45 minutes; Hands-on activity: 15 minutes consumers.Hands-on Activities: An important component of BEEF Camp is hands-on learning. A taste panel and retail beef identification contest are held during BEEF Camp to BEEF Camp educated youth beefreinforce information taught at presentations and activities mentioned above. producers about beef end product quality using Taste Panel: Different cuts and grades of beef are cooked and sampled. The taste panel illustrates how muscle location, cooking methods, aging, marbling, and maturity affect eating experience. a variety of methods, including hands-onThe tasting of different steaks helps youth learn the factors that affect the palatability of beef, including how genetics, feeding, and management techniques all influence the eating quality of the steers activities.they are raising. The taste panel is incorporated into the Meat Quality Attributes presentation and normally takes 30-60 minutes to complete. Retail Beef Identification Contest: Retail cuts are displayed and youth are given a worksheet to identify primal, wholesale, and retail cut information about each cut in the contest. This helps teach about musclebiology, location of muscles on the carcass, as well as gives them the skills to recognize various cuts and quality grades while being better informed consumers. This contest takes approximately 30 minutes to complete,depending on how many cuts are available. Donated prizes are given out to the winners.Additional Learning: These 5 key topics about beef end product quality , including the hands-on activities, are taught at each BEEF Camp. However, some county 4-H programs also include additional events followingthe BEEF camp curriculum to round out the day’s events. For example, a BEEF Camp curriculum is taught from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, lunch is served by a local 4-H club, then afternoon activities may include a BeefSkillathon, a beef cattle working contest, a fitting and showing class, or a halter breaking workshop to complete the day’s activities. CONCLUSION: Due to the success of the previous BEEF Camps, and the need for more beef end-product quality education for youth, authors are currently working on publishing the BEEF Camp curriculum. Utilizing this curriculum will help address the relationships between livestock management and end-product quality identified in previous Beef Quality Audits and will continue to educate youth beef producers across the U.S. about the importance of beef end product quality.