HARRISBURG, Pa. — The new group organized last fall to represent the interests of Pennsylvania’s beef producers and agribusiness representatives is working to re-energize the industry through education, promotion and economic development efforts.
At a board meeting, members formed the Center for Beef Excellence, a nonprofit organization based in Harrisburg. A board of directors was appointed to the center, with Jeff Nogan, Lackawanna County beef producer and beef task force member, serving as acting chairman.
The executive board will meet this spring to appoint official officers and a national search will begin in June for an executive director to manage the center’s day-to-day operation. The director will also serve as a liaison to the task force and the Department of Agriculture.
In addition to securing private funding to support the center, and beginning the application process for state and federal grants, the task force is working closely with its sister groups — the Pennsylvania Beef Council, the Pennsylvania Dairy Task Force and the Center for Dairy Excellence — to develop common messaging on issues like the recent beef recall that affected both industries.
Together, the groups sent a letter to Congress and USDA Secretary Ed Schaffer in response to the matter.
The task force also sent information to more than 20,000 Pennsylvania beef and dairy producers on proper animal handling and husbandry procedures.
Likewise, the task force contacted 385 auctions, packers and butcher shops to offer support and assistance in developing written protocols for animal handling and slaughter processes.
Recognizing the importance of protecting the environment, the task force sent comments to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding air emissions, as well as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
They also addressed the agency’s stance on treating manure as a hazardous waste.
Promoting new places to sell and serve Pennsylvania-produced beef is also a top priority.
Promoting new places to sell and serve Pennsylvania-produced beef is also a top priority. The task force is working the Department of Agriculture’s Pennsylvania Preferred program to source locally grown beef to prisons and schools.
Other items discussed at the task force’s recent board meeting were:
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