By Kenny Wiley
Agriculture experts from across the country and Brazos Valley-area producers and academics gathered inside the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center Monday for a wide-ranging summit on the meat production industry and related fields.
Richard Teague, a Texas A&M AgriLife range ecologist, and Dan Hale, a meat specialist at A&M, were among more than a dozen speakers at Raising Meat: A New Food Economy Summit. Kimberly Ratcliff, the manager of Caney Creek Ranch in Freestone County, spoke on experiences of ranchers and producers of color.
Speakers weighed in on whether people should eat meat at all — with “yes” being the consensus — and shared insights and research about trends in a number of agriculture industries.
In his remarks, Hale said above-average rainfall in the Brazos Valley over the past several months has been a positive for meat producers, with more negative effects for producers in other agriculture industries.
Hale talked about the “food trust model” and said consumers want to know if they can trust meat production.
“A majority of consumers I interact with don’t really want to know all the details of meat production, but they do want to know that someone is looking out for them in that process and making sure that animals are treated humanely,” Hale said.
“Research says that 96 percent of people believe that it’s OK to use animals for food and fiber,” Hale said.
Hale said during an interview after his presentation that health benefits — or drawbacks — of a particular brand of meat are often a creation of marketing rather than being grounded in research. Beef from grass-fed cattle, for example, is no more nutritious than beef from corn- or grain-fed cattle.
“Consumers are hearing different things, and companies market their product by tearing down another,” Hale said. “There is no difference in the safety of the product from the human side. People are worried about whether meat production is being done right.”
Via source The Eagle | Agriculture experts discuss future of meat production at Texas A&M summit
For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Kaitlyn Harkin at Harkin802@tamu.edu or (979) 845-1542.