By Kaytlyn Malia, Director of Industry Information and Public Relations – Georgia Beef Board
Just the other day I was making the trip from our Georgia Beef Board office in Macon, Georgia to Northeast Georgia. If any of you are familiar with that drive you would know that you pass dozens of farms along the way. This particular day stands out in my mind because it was the perfect spring day- 68 degrees, bright green grass from the weekend rain, and I'm pretty sure the sun was shining a little brighter.
As we passed these beef cattle farms along the way I remember making the comment, "today would be a great day to be a cow." And since then I have thought a lot about what a great state Georgia is to be raising over one million head of beef cattle a year. If for some reason if I had to be a cow, this [Georgia] is where I would want to live. Not that my opinion means much, but I can say that I have toured cattle ranches in Big Sky country in Montana and I would still choose Georgia, every time.
As we have entered the Month of May which happens to be Georgia Beef Month and National Beef Month, it is a perfect time to highlight our beef industry here, the producers, and all of the many reasons why great beef comes from Georgia. 15,000 farmers and ranchers in Georgia pull on their boots every day and get to work to produce high-quality, safe, nutritious and great tasting beef for the world. This is no small task but our farmers in the state take this responsibility seriously with a commitment to animal care and product quality to provide the best beef possible.
As the world evolves so does the ways that producers use science and technology to better care for their cattle and raise them efficiently, which in turn helps keep product cost low for consumers. They are constantly seeking new information and education on forage systems, health and nutrition products as well as genetics and other research in order to raise more profitable cattle. Here in Georgia, the majority of our industry is supported by cow-calf operations, which means that farmers maintain a herd of mama cows that give birth to calves once a year and after several months when those calves are weaned they begin grazing on grasses and pasture land.
In our state there are producers and custom operations that can finish and process cattle right here in Georgia. But the majority of our cattle are either sold in livestock markets or moved to the Midwest to spend the next four to six months at a feed yard where they receive a high- energy balanced diet of grasses, grains and other forages in order for them to reach market weight. When that is achieved, cattle are moved to processing facilities where the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) will oversee the implementation of safety, animal welfare and quality standards from the time animals enter the plant until the final beef products are shipped to grocery stores and restaurants.
From farm to fork you have the assurance that safety, quality and nutrition are the #1 concerns from every individual involved. I have the best job because I get to represent the best people I know – Georgia's cattle producers. They are the most kind, generous, upstanding and wisest people I know. They make Beef Month and every month easy to celebrate! So, join us in bringing tribute to these men and women and this great industry by firing up the grill and making tonight and every night a "beef it's what's for dinner" night!