Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is visiting with Oklahoma State University’s Morgan Pfeiffer about the National Beef Quality Audit.
The National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) is a comprehensive survey that evaluates beef industry efforts to improve beef quality. Conducted every five years since 1991, the checkoff-funded Audit assesses progress the industry makes on a variety of production issues that ultimately affect consumer demand for beef. Pfeiffer is one of the researchers aiding in the 2022 National Beef Quality Audit.
“Part of the audit is also training graduate students, so that is how I got started,” Pfeiffer said. “In 2016, I was a Ph.D. student at Oklahoma State, and I served as our lead grad student on the audit. During that time, I helped with interviews, implant collections and was able to go to the strategy workshop.”
Now, as a member of the faculty in the OSU animal and food sciences department, Pfeiffer said her role is a little different.
“I served as a faculty mentor, doing those same things, collecting all that data, and training grad students to go out and help do that as well,” Pfeiffer said.
As Pfeiffer has been a part of a few of these audits, she said she has seen the progress made over the years.
“To look back at those documents that were produced and see that they were concerned with increasing quality and making sure the product was exactly what consumers wanted from that aspect, and today we are concerned with more ‘nit-picky’ type of things because the quality of our products has become so expected and it is something we should be really proud of,” Pfeiffer said. “We are producing a product that consumers love because of that quality.”
The 2022 audit, Pfeiffer said, has its own unique differences compared to previous years. A few of those, she added, include an increase in prime and choice products and the utilization of branded programs.
“We are putting a lot of cattle into a specific branded program, which makes it where consumers want it more,” Pfeiffer said. “There is an outlet for a lot more cattle than there was before.”
On the market cow and bull side, Pfeiffer said positive growth has been seen in the image.
“The food safety is expected on both sides, and it is something they really appreciate, but the overall image of that sector has gotten better,” Pfeiffer said. “The fed side has had a good image for a long time, but the cow and bull side has struggled more, and this time they were very positive on the image.”
This year’s audit saw a body condition and muscle score decrease from previous audits, Pfeiffer said, which can be credited to the drought.
“Those products are not just being ground, so we are selling primals out of those, and if we will make sure they are at the right time and point to go to market, they are going to capture a lot better product for the consumer,” Pfeiffer said.
With the branded programs and premiums available today, Pfeiffer also added that commodity beef could be a thing of the past.
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