To help give the state's beef industry more visibility and to offer future direction, Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson announced Saturday at the Minnesota State Cattlemen's annual meeting that a new 14-member beef task force will soon be formed.
"Livestock is important to this state," Hugoson said. He noted that in terms of state ag ranking, corn is first, followed by soybeans, hogs, dairy and then beef.
"Beef is not that far behind [dairy]. This tells me that beef is unappreciated and unnoticed in the Minnesota agricultural economy. Nationally and internationally, there is a lot of potential in the Minnesota beef industry. We are in a position to be more dominant," he said.
To stimulate interest and draw more attention to beef, Hugoson said he plans to create a beef task force—similar to the dairy task force created by the MDA. He said that 14 individuals from all segments of the beef industry would be on the board, representing producers, farm organizations, veterinarians, buyers/auctions, retail, lending institutions, the University of Minnesota, the state Board of Animal Health and the MDA.
Hugoson outlined a few possible goals for the task force. They include:
-Exploring ways to grow the industry and to identify road blocks
-Addressing research efforts at U-M
-Impact of animal identification
Applications for the task force will be available this week. Applicants must apply through the Secretary of State's office.
Hugoson said he would like to announce task force appointments by the end of January so the group could hold its first meeting in February.