South Dakota groups team up to promote beef at Sturgis Bike Rally |

South Dakota groups team up to promote beef at Sturgis Bike Rally

The Stone House Saloon owned by Kim and Colleen Kling of the 2Y Ranch in Belle Fourche, SD, was a hot spot during the Sturgis Bike Rally on Aug. 8-10, 2011. The South Dakota CattleWomen’s Association (SDCWA) and the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) teamed up to promote beef to bikers at the saloon, located in a hayfield on the ranch. The facility opens only for the week of the rally, and beef producers set up camp to share the agriculture story with attendees of South Dakota’s most infamous event.

Tracey Orsburn, SDBIC compliance officer and program assistant, helped out at the event, along with Ron Frederick, SDBIC executive director. Orsburn said the event, which has been a project of the SDCWA for the past three years, continues to have a positive impact.

“In our three days at the rally, we visited with bikers from 40 states and eight countries,” said Orsburn. “What other promotion in the state can you reach that many people from that many different areas of the country and the world? Most of the bikers who stopped at the saloon stayed for awhile to relax and visit, giving us the opportunity to share the positive messages about beef with the consumers.”

The SDCWA and SDBIC offered bikers beef jerky, lip balm (a beef byproduct) and toothpicks, as well as Beef Bucks and recipe books for those who could answer trivia questions correctly.

“This promotional event gave us a ton of exposure and the chance to visit with folks about beef, nutrition, food safety, preparation, recipes and industry issues,” said Orsburn, who is a new face to the SDBIC, starting her position in June 2011. “The response from the bikers was very positive. We had some questions about growth hormones in beef and the impact it has on consumers who eat beef. But, for the most part, a lot of the bikers are meat eaters and enjoyed the beef we served at the saloon. Many stopped back the last couple of years and made sure to swing by again this year just for the jerky and other goodies we pass out.”

Consumer promotions are just one of the ways beef checkoff dollars are used in the state and across the country.

“In general, I think consumer promotions are a great way to reach consumers and share our messages, especially at events like this one,” said Orsburn. “These people come from all over the country and listen to our messages while enjoying beef in the middle of a hay field in Western South Dakota! What a great setting to share our story! This is a prime location and a prime event.”

Orsburn may be new to the SDBIC, but she isn’t a stranger to the beef industry or the checkoff. Previously, she worked for the Cattlemen’s Beef Board in the Beef Mobile Project, where she traveled the country educating producers about the beef checkoff.

“My current position is very similar to my old job with the Beef Mobile,” Orsburn said. “Although this summer has been dedicated to a lot of consumer events, once fall auction markets kick back up, we will do more producer communication and outreach programs. My primary role in my past job was to share the importance of the beef checkoff. At the state level, I will be doing similar things.”

One of Orsburn’s top priorities will be spearheading the state’s Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Program.

“BQA is more than just knowing where to administer a shot; it’s about handling, too,” said Orsburn, who hopes to get more South Dakota beef producers BQA-certified in the upcoming years. “We want to show our consumers that the state’s beef producers are committed to handling our cattle in a humane way and ensuring the safety and quality of our beef products at the end of the day. This is a checkoff-funded program that’s incredibly important. Beef checkoff dollars are used for promotion, education and research across the state and the country. It works to boost beef demand and present correct information to our consumers. All of these things can’t be done by one producer alone; it’s a group effort I’m proud to be a part of.”

Whether it’s beefing up the bike rally or working with producers at auction markets, Orsburn is on the job. Look for her on the road this fall at cattle events where she will share the positive messages about the nation’s beef producers.

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