What’s for Dinner?

Last week a few of us had the pleasure to tour with Gate to Plate.  The Arizona Beef Council took us on a virtual and real-life journey of BEEF!  We visited the Pinal Feeding Co. and Quarter Circle U Ranch.

The Beef lifecycle looks something like this:

  1. Cow-calf farms and ranches, calve and bred cows each year.  The average gestation time is 285 days, with 93% born alive and surviving to weaning.
  2. Cows and calves graze the Arizona lands.                                                          AZ_range
  3. Calves are weaned at about 500 pounds or 8 months old (age and weight varies).
  4. Calves are sold at livestock auction markets.  Some calves are kept on the farm for future breeding animals.
  5. The sold calves graze on many different kinds of forage and grasses all across the US.  These calves mature into cattle gaining weight, by converting forage and grass into protein.
  6. The cattle then may be sold or moved to feedlots where they receive a forage and by-product diet that may contain grain.
  7. Cattle are harvested in processing facilities or packing plants.  40 processing facilities account for 98% of all beef cuts.  The average market weight (weight on the live hoof) is 1200#.  The average yield is 62%, giving a dressed weight of 715#. Now the carcass is broken down into beef cuts.  The dressed beef will yield approximately 569# of edible cuts, which includes: 27# of variety meats: liver, heart, tongue, tripe, sweetbreads, brains, and 146# of fat, bone and loss.  Beef from the packing plant is sent to supermarkets and restaurants worldwide.
  8. Beef provides protein and 10 essential nutrients to diets in US and around the globe.


If you would like more information about Beef ranching, Feeding practices, Nutrition, Safety, or Family Farms please contact the Arizona Beef Council at 1401 N 24th St, Ste 4 Phoenix, AZ 85008.  602-273-7163 (o) 602-220-9833 (f)

Since I was previously with the USDA – Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) I would be remiss to not add some safe cooking recommendations.

Safe Cooking
For safety, the USDA recommends cooking hamburgers and ground beef mixtures   such as meat loaf to 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Cook all   organ and variety meats (such as heart, kidney, liver and tongue) to 160 °F.

Cook all raw beef steaks and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145   °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat   source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes   before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers   may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.

Times are based on beef at refrigerator temperature (40 °F). Remember that   appliances and outdoor grills can vary in heat. Use a food thermometer to   check for safe cooking and doneness of beef.




Approximate Beef Cooking Times °F

Type   of Beef


Cooking   Method

Cooking   Time

Internal   Temperature

Rib Roast, bone in 4 to 6 lbs. Roast 325° 23-25 min./lb. 145 °F and allow to rest at least   3 minutes
Rib Roast, boneless rolled 4 to 6 lbs. Roast 325° Add 5-8 min./lb. to times above
Chuck Roast, Brisket 3 to 4 lbs. *Braise 325° *Braise 325°
Round or Rump Roast 2 1/2 to 4 lbs. Roast 325° 30-35 min./lb.
Tenderloin, whole 4 to 6 lbs. Roast 425° 45-60 min. total
Steaks 3/4″ thick Broil/Grill 4-5 min. per side
Stew or Shank Cross Cuts 1 to 1 1/2″ thick Cover with liquid; simmer 2 to 3 hours
Short Ribs 4″ long and 2″ thick *Braise 325° 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours
Hamburger patties, fresh 4 ounces Grill, broil or fry 3 to 5 minutes per side 160 °F


*Braising is roasting or simmering   less-tender meats with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan.
Home Storage of Beef Products
If product has a “Use-By” Date, follow that date. If product has a   “Sell-By” Date or no date, cook or freeze the product by the times   on the following chart.


Storage Times for Beef Products


Refrigerator   40 °F

Freezer   0 °F

Fresh beef roast, steaks, chops,   or ribs 3 to 5 days 6 to 12 months
Fresh beef liver or variety meats 1 or 2 days 3 to 4 months
Home cooked beef, soups, stews or   casseroles 3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months
Store-cooked convenience meals 1 to 2 days 2 to 3 months
Cooked beef gravy or beef broth 1 or 2 days 2 to 3 months
Beef hot dogs or lunch meats, sealed   in package 2 weeks (or 1 week after a   “Use-By” date) 1 to 2 months
Beef hot dogs, opened package 7 days 1 to 2 months
Lunch meats, opened package 3 to 5 days 1 to 2 months
TV dinners, frozen casseroles Keep Frozen 3 to 4 months
Canned beef products in pantry 2 to 5 years in pantry; 3 to 4   days after opening After opening, 2 to 3 months
Jerky, commercially vacuum   packaged 1 year in pantry
Refrigerate 2 to 3 months
Do not freeze


I love bacon too; will touch on the latest and greatest that is Pork in the future!

Just in case you were wondering Beef is for Dinner!

Serving Arizonans…One Animal at a Time


Brucellosis – Where are we?

In 1934, the eradication of brucellosis was elevated to a national scale with the formation of a cooperative state–federal brucellosis eradication program to eliminate brucellosis from the country. Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that causes decreased milk production, weight loss, infertility, loss of young and lameness in cattle, elk and bison. The disease is contagious and can, though rarely, affect humans. There is no known treatment for brucellosis, and depopulation of infected and exposed animals is the only effective means of disease containment and eradication.

Brucellosis surveillance at slaughter establishments has remained essentially the same for more than 20 years despite evidence of the absence of brucellosis in many States. In fiscal year 2010, approximately 5.45 million blood samples were collected at slaughter establishments across the United States.  Slaughter surveillance at that level significantly contributed to decreasing the incidence of brucellosis in our national herds. However, testing at that level is no longer necessary.  According to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS) 2009 evaluation (Changes in Surveillance for Brucellosis in Domestic Cattle in the United States).            The brucellosis program, through an interim rule published on December 27, 2010, reduced the level of sampling at slaughter in States or areas that have been Class Free for 5 or more years.  Currently only Texas has been classified as free for less than 5 years (January 26, 2011 one affected beef cattle herd disclosed).  The National Prevalence rate of brucellosis affected cattle herds is 0.0001% for Federal FY 2013 and 2014.  There is no indication that brucellosis has spread outside Texas.

2010-2011 NASS data for distribution of U.S. cattle herds by Brucellosis State Status:

14.91% class free for       1-5 years

9.88% class free for         6-10 years

38.70% class free for       11-15 years

9.30% class free for         16-20 years

27.21% class free for       21+ years


Today the Agency published an administrative order with respect to milk produced by cows and goats and the brucella ring test method.  A.R.S. 3-1772(B) requires that the milk from cows or goats producing raw milk for sale to the ultimate consumer of raw milk or raw milk products for human consumption be tested for brucellosis by the ring test method at least once each month.

For comparison, Texas (who has had an affected herd in the last 5 years) Administrative Code cites participation of cattle (cows) only biannually for milk ring testing.  In comparison to Arizona being classified as free for 21+ years, as of November 1, 2013 and testing monthly.

As I previously stated, the national rate of brucellosis affected herds is 0.0001% and brucellosis has been eliminated in Arizona.  Additionally, ring test method brucellosis testing has not been validated for goats.  Moreover, adult cows and goats are still blood tested for brucellosis annually.

The order states, “The Department shall not take action with respect to milk produced by cows and goats due to milk not being tested for brucellosis by the ring test method at least once a month.”

This allows disease control and eradication measures without the burden of monthly brucella ring testing.  Cows and goats producing raw milk will continue to be tested for tuberculosis at least annually, and all adult animals shall be blood tested for brucellosis annually, as required by A.R.S. 3-1772.  Additionally, testing and surveillance requirements in the current PMO as well as the USDA publication entitled Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication – Uniform Methods and Rules remain in place.  See A.R.S. 3-605 and R3-2-501(A).  Federal requirements regarding tuberculosis status for the export of animals and animal products also remain in effect.  Finally, goats imported into Arizona must still satisfy A.A.C Article 6 as applicable.


Serving Arizonans…One Animal at a Time