Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259, email@example.com
COLLEGE STATION – A Beef Production Boot Camp for Retailers that helped educate meat market managers on the changing dynamics of beef production and retail marketing has received a 2014 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Superior Service Award in the team category.
The award was presented during the Texas A&M AgriLife Conference Jan. 6 at Texas A&M University in College Station. Team members are: Rick Machen, Dan Hale, Davey Griffin, Jason Cleere and Ron Gill, AgriLife Extension specialists, and Russell Woodward of the Texas Beef Council.
According to the award nomination, the boot camp curriculum was designed to educate market managers who have point-of-purchase contact directly with consumers. The two-day camps were attended by 30 to 40 meat market managers and included an overview of the beef industry, breeds, preharvest production systems and virtual tours of a feedyard and large harvest facility.
Live demonstrations included low-stress cattle handling, chuteside demonstration of application and use of animal health practices, live animal evaluation, quality and yield grading, and carcass fabrication. The camps concluded with a taste test using beef products.
The Southwest Division of Kroger Company and Nolan Ryan Beef were part of the program. Kroger had more than 300 of its employees and executives attend the trainings. Following the beef model, curriculum and trainings are also being developed for pork, poultry and seafood.
The success of the program has led the AgriLife Extension team to promote the opportunity to additional retailers within Texas.
“Market managers have been able to better engage customers about the different types of beef and help answer customers’ questions and concerns,” wrote Aaron Stryk, Kroger Southwest meat and seafood merchandiser, in a letter of commendation.
According to one participant, “The content of the program should really help us all with our knowledge of the beef industry and our ability to help educate our staffs and representatives who are ultimately face-to-face with the beef customers.”
“Many of these market managers have been cutting beef in their stores for many years and are fascinated to realize how much they did not know about how that beef reached their store,” wrote Nolan Ryan in a letter of commendation. “They have benefited immensely from these camps. They are more confident in their ability to inform and encourage consumers to make purchases that suit their needs. They are equipped to teach and train their assistants and to share the knowledge they have gained.”