Beef producers giving back |

Beef producers giving back

Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns
for Tri-State Livestock News

The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) joined hands with the North Dakota Beef Commission (NDBC) to feed more than 1,500 COVID-stressed health care providers during “Healthcare Heroes Appreciation Day” on September 11.

Julie Schaff Ellingson, Executive Vice President of NDSA says, “The ranching community is grateful to those on the frontlines for their extra efforts during the COVID pandemic and every day. This event was ranchers’ way to say ‘thanks’ and let them know we regard them as partners in keeping our community healthy. Our day-to-day responsibilities are quite different, yet at the end of the day we have the same objective: providing for the health and well-being of people. Healthcare professionals provide critical medical care, and we supply beef, a wholesome, nutritious food for families.”

Everyone’s lives and activities have been rearranged by the pandemic, as noted by NDSA President Dan Rorvig. “Historically our association has done something similar at our State Fair in July, an appreciation lunch for our Military. This year – no State Fair! Still wanting to do something through our product to say ‘thank you’ to folks we respect, we came up with the idea that, in light of COVID, healthcare workers, hospitals, EMT’s and others are on the front line every day and right in the thick of things,” Rorvig says. “Our organization put this together in co-op with the NDBC, to say thanks in the best way we know how.”

“They were overwhelmingly appreciative that we’d think of honoring them, and give back and thank them for everything that they do,” NDBC Chairman Weston Dvorak said. “Healthcare workers are who other people go to for assistance. If you stub your toe you want to know if it’s broken. I think they’re kind of like farmers and ranchers in what they do for another group of peers, and they influence people’s dietary and nutritional judgments. Beef in our diet is so important to nutrition and in managing bood pressure, obesity, diabetes and other conditions – and the public needs to be aware of that.”

“The level of enthusiasm from this group of people indicates we’re doing our job with the Checkoff. Consumers are finding a place to go for resources and information, and can have confidence in our product, especially once we’ve established this personal relationship,” Dvorak continued. “We were able to paint beef in a very positive light, which will influence them when they make that decision about what to buy. It was not only promotional education, but going forward, we have established relationships with these individuals in an ongoing commitment where the NDBC can remain dedicated to inform and teach, enhancing the relationship we established there.”

“North Dakota’s Carnivore Catering prepared the perfect menu: slow-roasted beef, barbecue beans, fresh fruit, buns, cookies and drinks. North Dakota beef producers, utilizing drive-through and on-site dining at the Bismarck Event Center parking lot, served the complimentary meals in appreciation to doctors, nurses, EMTs and others in the healthcare industry, and shared beef’s positive nutrition story with key influencers,” Ellingson commented. “Meal packets included helpful beef recipes and nutrition information, informing diners that beef is the source of 10 essential nutrients, can help reduce the risk of heart disease and offers nearly 30 cuts that qualify for the government’s definition of ‘lean.’ Beef not only tastes great, but is also good for you, and we want beef to be top of mind when healthcare professionals make recommendations for their patients,” she said.

“Like everything else in this COVID world, it was a way bigger project than we were used to and twice as much work as usual, but it was a good true helping by our members to the folks we are trying to say ‘thank you’ to,” Dan Rovig said. “One guy drove up and said, ‘Hey I want 30 orders to go.’ They were great, appreciative guests who gained a better understanding of the value of beef in the diet, and they enjoyed it.” The groups took extra care to host the event in a safe environment and to meet Center for Disease Control guidelines, especially considering their special guests.