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Beef: It’s what’s for dinner

By Staff | Jun 20, 2014

Jefferson County, Charles Town specifically, was selected as one of the sites around the state to promote the beef industry and encourage its expansion. A tasting event was held Thursday, June 12 in downtown Charles Town where members of the Blue Ridge Cattlemen’s Association, the Loudoun County, Virginia Economic Development group and West Virginia Department of Agriculture teamed up to promote the breeding, raising and consumption of beef within the area.

According to Bob Tabb, deputy commission with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, the state is working to increase production and processing of beef.

“We breed cattle in West Virginia,” Tabb shared. “But then, we ship it out of state to be raised and buy it back packaged as meat.” Tabb explained that a goal of the state is to keep the beef within the borders throughout the entire process so that it is more cost-effective.

“We export poultry,” Tabb said. “And we have enough cattle in West Virginia to supply, but we ship it out of state and then buy it back.” He said that there are a lot of opportunities in West Virginia within the beef industry.

“We want to keep the process in West Virginia from birth to consumption,” he said.

Joining forces with the state’s Agriculture Department were members of the Blue Ridge Cattlemen’s Association which serves the local area. According to the agency’s literature, they “represent cattlemen and women who raise cattle in northern Virginia dn the panhandle of West Virginia.”

Gary Hornbaker, secretary of the agency and Rural Resources Coordinator for the Loudoun County, Virginia Department of Economic Development, helped man the grill at Thursday’s event. He explained that the “Beef for Father’s Day” event held here as well as in Clarksburg, Lewisburg, Moundsville and Charleston, serves as a reminder that beef is an excellent choice.

“Everyone loves a good steak,” Hornbaker laughed. “The beef business is a good one; our prices are good and the quality is high,” he said of area beef growers.

Tracy Fitzsimmons, livestock and marketing specialist with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, said that the Father’s Day promotion was a way to promote beef and give some to dads at the same time.

“This event is normally only done at the Governor’s mansion,” Fitzsimmons said. “We are pleased with the turnout taking it to other locations.”