Tuesday, August 1, 2017/Categories: Opinions
Every summer in the shadow of the Beartooth Mountains, the Montana Beef Council helps the small town of Absarokee welcome over 30 barbecue vendors. They fire up their smokers at midnight on Saturday and keep watch over their meaty creations for the next 12 hours before the judges arrive to sample their offerings. The sweet, smoky aromas fill the air and by noon on Sunday, the little town of Absarokee is filled with 4,500 barbecue fans yearning for a taste.
What a great use for our Montana Beef Checkoff dollars! In just one weekend, these barbecue competitors will use nearly 700 pounds of beef brisket, with an additional 330 pounds of brisket and 300 pounds of tri-tip being used by other food vendors not in the competition. It’s estimated that another 100 pounds of beef is being used in the beef open division. That’s around 1,400 pounds of beef used that weekend alone to satisfy the crowd attracted to Absarokee by their love of beef. At least another 100 pounds is used to tempt attendees during television and radio interviews promoting the event beforehand. In the end, between $7,000-$10,000 in beef purchases are made just for one weekend, one Barbecue Cook Off and its promotion.
Winning the brisket category is really the biggest prize and accomplishment sought after by the competitors. Each of these teams practice ahead of time on brisket to prepare for competition. Assuming each team buys just one additional brisket for practice, then an additional $2,000 worth of meat is purchased.
An additional benefit of the weekend is the extensive media promotion and on-air cooking demonstrations seen and heard by tens of thousands of people. Viewers are able to see live reactions of people enjoying the brisket on the television ads or hear them describing the great taste on the radio. No one leaves the Barbecue Cook Off without wanting to go home and try cooking it for themselves or to share the experience with their friends. And remember, the 50 cents of every beef checkoff dollar that remains in the state, administered by your Montana Beef Council is what helps make this beef-centered weekend possible.
Due to the recent June decision by Judge Brian Morris, the Montana Beef Council will no longer be able to spend our check-off dollars on local projects in your communities like this one. Unless each producer gives their prior written consent, the entire dollar you pay for the checkoff will all go to support our national programs.
That’s why we all need to sign the simple one-page Producer Consent Form, that authorizes the Montana Beef Council to retain control of up to 50 cents on every dollar of our Beef Checkoff money. Please download this form, sign it and help support our local Check Off programs.
Personally, I support the Montana Beef Council because I believe they are doing an excellent job of promoting beef to consumers and informing the public about what ranchers do and why we have such a safe, sustainable and delicious product to offer them. As ranchers, our job is to raise the best cattle we can and the Montana Beef Council helps create a strong demand for the beef we produce so that we have markets demanding those cattle.
Lynda Grande lives in Columbus, Montana and is Vice-President of the Grande Ranch Company of Martinsdale. She is a past State President of the Montana CattleWomen association.