The beef checkoff again partnered with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to reach nutrition thought-leaders, including registered dietitians and other credentialed health professionals and media at the 2012 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo in Philadelphia, Penn.
More than 300 participants of the conference attended a checkoff-funded educational session entitled, "From Farm to Fork: The Evolution of Our Favorite Foods." This session featured Drs. Tom Field and Nancy Rodriguez who presented a look at interventions made by producers of today's food in response to changes in dietary guidance to make nutrient rich foods like beef more widely accessible. A spotlight was placed on modern beef production and changes in breeding, feeding and trimming that have resulted in leaner beef choices.
"Many of the people we reached are corporate nutritionists, so not only are we reaching 'private practice' audience but those who influence the nutrition education for thousands of employees," says Jeanne Harland, beef producer from Illinois and vice chairman of the checkoff's Joint Nutrition and Health Committee.
Harland was on hand to greet visitors to the booth and help answer questions about beef production.
"I can't think of a better return on investment than spending 20 minutes talking with somebody who might have that scope of influence. And it's about relationships – maintaining the checkoff's relationship with dietitians and health professionals is extremely important because they know the checkoff has science-based research and that's who they turn to for the facts," she says.
Checkoff dollars also supported a prominent exhibit at this year's conference and this provided an opportunity to distribute more than 5,000 beef nutrition resources such as information about the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet study. Booth visitors also enjoyed samples of heart healthy recipes from The Healthy Beef Cookbook.
The beef checkoff helped support the Academy Foundation gala dinner, which provided nearly 650 leaders in the nutrition community with a meal featuring lean beef tenderloin. New this year was an invitation-only educational breakfast session featuring presentations about research supporting beef's role in a heart healthy diet. This was followed with a tabletop discussion facilitated with the help of state beef council registered dietitians from Kansas, Nebraska and New York.
"I was thinking about the large impact our checkoff dollars have had – there were more than 11,000 people at this conference," says Harland. "If I took all the dollars I've paid into the checkoff over my farming career, I couldn't even buy them all a cup of coffee. But to have the ability to share our credible information with this group, like the commercials say, it's priceless."
For more information, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.