W.Va. Beef Promoted In Marshall County

A beef sampling took place Thursday on the east lawn of the Marshall County Courthouse to which the public was invited.

The event was sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA), the Northern Panhandle Stockman’s Association, and the West Virginia’s Beef Industry Council.

In addition, Beef Queen Sara Page of Mineral County was present to answer questions about the industry.

Those in attendance were invited to try West Virginia grown beef at the “Beef for Father’s Day” event.

Jim Bostick, executive secretary of the West Virginia Beef Industry, said, “We have been holding such an event for more than 20 years at the Govenor’s Mansion, and this year with the suggestion of Marshall County native Tracy Fitzsimmons, livestock marketing specialist with the state Department of Agriculture, we will be visiting not only the Governor’s Mansion, but also in Clarksburg, Charles Town and Lewisburg.”

Bostick introduced Moundsville Mayor Eugene Saunders Sr., who read a proclamation in which he asked residents to eat West Virginia beef on Father’s Day.

According to a press release from the Office of the Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick, Memorial Day is generally considered the kickoff to summer, but Father’s Day (which is June 15) is when grilling season hits its full stride.

“We’re doing this to honor dads throughout the Mountain State and the beef industry that feeds them,” Helmick stated in the release. “Beef is the second most valuable agricultural section in West Virginia, behind only our commercial poultry industry.”

A prime steak hot off the grill has been a favorite of fathers since cavemen discovered fire. Cuts such as the ribeye, strip and tenderloin filet deliver a lot of bang for the buck in terms of juiciness, flavor and tenderness with little more than the addition of 8-10 minutes of fire.

West Virginia’s nearly 11,000 beef cattle farmers produced 138 million pounds of beef worth more than $141 million in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

While most of West Virginia’s beef producers sell their cattle to feedlots in the Midwest, some market their meat directly to consumers. Those farmers are more insulated from drought and other inflationary pressures, so the price of their meat is more likely to remain stable.

“Beef is a cornerstone of the state’s agricultural economy, and I’m committed to finding ways to keep West Virginia cattle and West Virginia dollars in this state,” Helmick said. “West Virginians consume over $7 billion in food every year, yet we produce less than $1 billion. Switching to locally produced and processed beef could go a long way toward alleviating that gap.”

As to the United States, there are more than 800,000 beef producers who raise more than 100 million head of beef cattle.

Bostick also introduced Marshall County Commission president Don Mason, who expressed thanks to county volunteers who are associated with the Northern Panhandle Stockman’s Association. Mason also thanked others who volunteer in Marshall County, stated, “We have the best volunteers in the state.”

Also, speaking was Dave McCardle, president of the Northern Panhandle Stockman’s Association, who welcomed Bostick to the area on behalf of promoting beef grown in Marshall County and the state. McCardle stated his organization promotes beef cattle at Fairs and at Hands-on-Agriculture Day held at the fairgrounds in Moundsville to which all fifth graders in Marshall County schools where they learn about the farming industry. He said the beef sampling event is another way in the promoting beef.