National Agriculture Day is March 20. This celebrated day in history is a thank you to America's farmers and ranchers for the hard work they do 365 days a year to feed the world's growing population. When I heard that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm declared this highly revered day as Michigan Meat Out Day, I was incredibly insulted, and I imagine many of you are as well. Meat Out Day on National Ag Day? I think not! Never fear, agriculture is not one to be pushed aside and counted out. I definitely think agriculture is getting the hang of this social media thing, and I was excited to hear about a new Facebook group that is taking a stand against this ridiculous proclamation!
Dewey Mann, Purdue University, is the administrator of the Facebook Group, The Great American 'Steak' Out. It is the goal of this group to enjoy a big, juicy steak on National Ag Day/Michigan Meat Out Day (Saturday, March 20, 2010) and take a photo while enjoying that steak to send to Gov. Granholm. Considering that the average American eats 62 lbs of beef annually, I would venture to guess that this Meat Out Day is not a proclamation that represents the general population. We have an opportunity to have a real impact here, so I encourage all of you to reach out and share your thoughts with this mistaken politician.
Letters and photos can be sent to:
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, MI 48909
Here are a few facts and statistics to remind Gov. Granholm of when we contact her:
Beef and the economy: When taking a look at the agriculture industry as a whole, beef cattle production comprises a huge segment of that, which has a positive impact on our nation's economy. There are more than 1 million producers in the cattle business, and these individuals represent the largest single segment of American agriculture. In addition, the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture found that the largest single segment of the U.S. agricultural economy is beef production, with cattle and calves representing about 21% of total farm sales. (Source: Ag Marketing Resource Center)
Beef as a healthy part of a well-balanced diet: Did you know there are 29 cuts of beef that meet the government labeling guidelines for lean? Many are cuts you are probably already eating, such as flank steak, T-Bone steak, and sirloin steak. The protein in beef helps you maintain a healthy metabolism, but beef isn’t only useful in maintaining a healthy body. Studies suggest that the protein in beef may be help prevent many chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes and osteoporosis. It’s especially important that young children and older folks get sufficient protein. Children need the high-quality protein, iron and zinc in beef in order to develop their minds, as well as their bodies. Older adults can benefit from the protein in beef to help prevent loss of muscle mass and strength as they age. (Source: Beef It's What's For Dinner)
Beef and the environment: Approximately 85% of U.S. grazing lands are unsuitable for producing crops. Grazing animals on this land more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food. Cattle serve a valuable role in the ecosystem by converting the forages humans cannot consume into a nutrient-dense food. According to the EPA, the entire U.S. agricultural sector accounts for only 6.4% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and livestock production is only a portion of that total. (Source: Explore Beef)
Read Michigan Farm Bureau's response to Gov. Granholm's proclamation.
Read Dairy Agenda Today blogger Melissa Hart's response, Meat Out Day? Seriously?
Read more about it on the Detroit Free Press.
Join Michigan MEAT Day on Facebook.
I will be contacting Gov. Granholm as well as participating in the Great American 'Steak' Out, and I hope you do, too! Most importantly, I will be celebrating National Ag Day, a celebration of America's heroes, farmers and ranchers!