Record crowd attends county beef banquet
Have you heard of Schmacon yet?
U.S. consumers will soon get a chance to try it.
The beef check-off funded Beef Products Board announced last week the new beef product for 2014 – a smoked, cured and glazed beef strip, promoted as beef’s answer to bacon.
Dean Black, of Somers, who sits on the executive council of the national Cattle Beef Board, was one of 200 attending Monday night’s Webster County Cattlemen’s Association banquet at the Webster County Fairgrounds.
He said Schmacon was developed for the restaurant industry looking for a tasty meat cut that ethnic food consumers who avoid pork can enjoy.
“It looks like bacon,” Black said, “and cooks like bacon, but has half the calories and one-third the salt of bacon.”
He said it also cooks up faster than bacon with less shrinkage.
Bruce Long, president of the Webster County Cattlemens Association, said Monday’s record was the largest the banquet had attracted.
Tom Heilor, of Rockwell City, the District 8 director for Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, said not all those attending were beef producers.
“Many are business people,” he said, “who come to show support for the cattle industry.”
That support includes bidding for the right to sponsor 4-H livestock show trophies that will be given during the 2014 Webster County Fair, set for July 9 through 15. Those funds go for covering fair costs and local scholarships.
Emma Clough, of Clare, was crowned the 2014 Webster County Beef Princess by Lexi Hanson, the outgoing princess. Hanson was then crowned the 2014 Webster County Beef Queen.
Hanson is the daughter of Julie and Russell Tucker, of Gowrie; and Clough is the daughter of Randy and Sheryl Clough, of Clare.
Black said the Iowa cattle industry is healthy and good things lie ahead, with numbers up and exports improving.
Although national cattle numbers are down 1 percent from last year, he said, Iowa is up 6 percent, one of the few states that has grown.
“This shows the ethanol industry is helping bring cattle back to Iowa,” he said. In less than a decade, “Iowa is has moved up from seventh to fifth in the nation in raising cattle.
“And we’re not that far away from fourth.”
Ethanol co-products, various types of distillers dried grain, is a boon as a cattle feed additive.
“With three ethanol plants in this county,” Heilor said, “we can either feed it or ship it out.
“It’s better to keep it here to add value” by feeding to cattle, “which also helps local businesses.”
Black said he’ll be part of a U.S. beef delegation to China next week. He said the U.S. is hoping to reopen China’s import doors, which have been closed since the 2003 bovine spongiform encephalitis, or mad cow, outbreak.
A national cattle delegation returned last fall from Panama and Columbia to talk trade expansion with those countries.
“Panama is building resorts,” Black said. As it builds itself as a tourism, vacationing center, the hotels are wanting high-grade beef.
“And everyone knows the best beef comes from the U.S.,” Black said.
Heilor said the ICA will be in Des Moines on April 2 – Cattlemen at the Capitol Day – to grill lunches for state legislators.
Black said county banquets were a chance for producers to meet and talk about their operations in a relaxed atmosphere. Annual dues are also collected at the door.
Providing live music during the social hour and dinner were two guitarists, Ronley King, of Farnhamville, and Cory Waller, of Carroll. Both men are part of the Jay Clyde Band, based in Calhoun County.
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