- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 1, 2004

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Cattle producers in South Dakota plan to give away discount coupons and talk with grocery store shoppers to encourage them to keep eating beef despite the first U.S. case of mad cow disease.

South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association President Brian Brockel said producers hope to convince people that beef is safe and persuade nations that have banned imports of American beef to reverse their stand. Otherwise, prices will fall from recent highs, which will hurt farmers and ranchers, he said.

“We’ll have to go through this initial scare to see what the reaction of the public is,” Mr. Brockel said. “We’re trying to do as much as we can.”

A sick cow slaughtered in Washington state Dec. 9 was discovered to have mad cow disease, but federal officials have said they believe the case poses no threat to public safety.

Humans who eat brain or spinal matter from infected cows can develop variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a brain-wasting illness. During a mad cow outbreak in the 1980s, about 150 people died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in Britain.

But Mr. Brockel said Americans do not eat those parts of cattle.

His group plans to give away $5 coupons, called Beef Bucks, next week that can be used to buy beef products at Kessler’s Grocery in Aberdeen, S.D., 200 miles northwest of Sioux Falls.

Farmers, ranchers and businesses had donated $1,500 as of Tuesday to pay for the coupons, said Maria Tussing, communications director for the Cattlemen’s Association.

Members of the group also will try to reassure shoppers that beef is safe. The store is donating prime rib so producers can give samples of the meat.

The Wyoming Beef Council, meanwhile, has begun a campaign to provide information about mad cow disease to grocery stores, meat counters and restaurants. The council’s executive director, Ann Whitman, said she has been in touch with beef retailers by phone and e-mail and through mailings.

“No one has indicated there has been any type of decline in demand in this area,” she said.

Several states with large cattle industries, including Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri, say they have no plans for a promotion similar to the Beef Bucks.

“Consumer demand has held up pretty good,” said Crystal Bryant, spokeswoman for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide