New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today kicked off National Beef Month in New York State and announced the launch of the New York Beef Passport. Spearheaded by the New York Beef Council, the New York Beef Passport gives consumers the opportunity to explore the best beef dishes in New York State, support local businesses and beef producers, and win exciting, themed prizes. The Commissioner joined members of the New York Beef Council and the New York Beef Producers Association at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Syracuse to launch the passport and honor the beef industry in New York, which is a critical component of the state’s agricultural sector.
Commissioner Ball said, “I’m proud to celebrate Beef Month in New York State with the launch of the New York Beef Passport. This initiative will connect our consumers with beef producers in every corner of our state, while helping them to support local small businesses and try some delicious new dishes. We’re happy to help tell the story of New York’s many excellent farming families that produce a variety of versatile and wholesome beef choices for our tables and encourage everyone to download a free New York Beef Passport this month and get tasting!”
The New York Beef Passport provides the perfect opportunity for beef lovers to taste some of the best beef dishes from participating restaurants throughout New York State and earn prizes ranging from beef-themed collectible t-shirts to a grand prize $250 Beef Bundle Give-A-Way. The program encourages visitors to travel and explore all regions of New York while supporting local restaurants and small businesses. Participants will have the opportunity to try new flavors and explore different cooking styles from juicy steaks to mouth-watering burgers.
There are 20 restaurants participating in the New York Beef Passport, including six locations of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Limp Lizard Lounge Bar & Grill, and both locations of the Woodland Farm Brewery. The New York Beef Passport is free and only takes a few minutes to register for on a digital device. Consumers can collect digital stamps at each participating restaurant to be eligible for prizes and receive exclusive digital passport offers. Learn more at https://www.nybeef.org/beef-passport.
New York State has nearly 12,800 cattle farms with 1.4 million cattle and calves overall, including almost 110,000 beef cows supplying nutritious, wholesome beef to consumers. The beef industry is one of the top five agricultural sectors in New York, contributing to New York State’s economy by generating more than $298 million in sales annually. New York’s beef community is made up of hard-working and dedicated men and women, and 92% of beef farms in New York are family owned and operated. Beef is an excellent source of protein and supplies 10 essential nutrients including B-vitamins, zinc, and iron that support an active and healthy lifestyle. Thousands of people—from cattle producers and feed manufacturers to equipment dealers and food marketers—play a role in bringing beef from pasture to plate.
Ashley Russell, Executive Director of the New York Beef Council said, “Beef month becomes more and more important as people become more removed from farms and the farmers producing their food. This month gives us a great opportunity to celebrate beef and its great attributes, but to also thank and recognize the farmers working hard to produce this protein for so many families.”
Zack Welker, Herd Manager of SK Herefords and Vice-President of the New York Beef Producers Association said, “As farmers and beef are increasingly and constantly under fire, educating those who have become distanced from farming as a way of life and the benefits that come from cattle has never been more critical. 78% of farmers and ranchers plan to invest in their community by passing their operations on to future generations. Being a part of this statistic is a top priority for us as parents and cattlemen.”
Kevin Speciale, Director of Operations at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que said, “As we celebrate 35 years of serving up mouth-watering BBQ, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is thrilled to join forces with the New York Beef Council to continue our tradition of highlighting the best of what New York has to offer. We take great pride in our ‘que and beef dishes and believe that the quality of our ingredients is essential to creating the best possible dining experience for our guests. By working together with the New York Beef Council and participating in the New York Beef Passport program, we can continue to promote and support our community and the state's agricultural industry, showcasing the talents of our local farmers, chefs, and producers.”
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets works hard to promote New York’s beef industry and connect producers to new markets. Additionally, the Department supports beef producers across the state through a variety of programs, like the Farm-to-School program, which helps connect producers with local schools, and Nourish New York, which brings New York foods to those in need through New York’s network of emergency food providers.
Additionally, the beef industry is part of the NYS Grown & Certified program. 67 beef producers are now in the program, with six of those joining this year. NYS Grown & Certified promotes New York’s agricultural producers and growers who adhere to food safety and environmental sustainability standards. For beef, participants must be local producers and their herd must have spent at least 2/3 of their lifetime in New York State. To meet the program’s food safety standards, the producer must participate in a herd management program, such as the Beef Quality Assurance program or the New York State Cattle Health Assurance Program, and animals must be processed in a USDA-inspected plant and have official identification such as an RFID tag.
In addition, the producer must participate in the New York State Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program, administered by the Department of Agriculture and Markets, or be in compliance Department of Environmental Conservation permits.