Kentucky Cattlemen’s ground beef goes to market
(A version of this article appears in the April 5, 2018 edition of The Farmer’s Pride)
by Ray Bowman
Kroger stores across the Commonwealth have a new feature in the meat case. Kentucky Cattlemen’s Ground Beef is now available in 85 Kentucky supermarkets.
However, Steve Doan, general counsel for the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy, said in an announcement at Kroger’s Beaumont Center store in Lexington that this project is about more than local beef on Kroger shelves.
“For the last 18 years, the Kentucky Ag Development Board and the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association have worked hand in hand to make Kentucky the best beef cattle state this side of the Mississippi,” Doan said. “This project represents the years of hard work it takes to raise a quality product on such a large scale.
Doan also recognized The Chop Shop in Wolfe County, which processes the beef for the project, and Creation Gardens, a regional distributor that packages and distributes the products.
“We now have the knowledge of what it takes to get a Kentucky-grown product from the farm to the grocery store, then to the dinner plate,” Doan stated.
Spencer County cattleman Nathan Lawson is a manager for Beef Solutions, LLC, the company owned by the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association which was developed to provide a method for Kentucky’s cattle producers to enter the market for locally produced and marketed ground beef.
“Many families, like mine, are proud to have the opportunity to work for their friends and their neighbors to provide a product that can be purchased just down the street,” Lawson beamed.
“Kentucky is the largest beef cattle state east of the Mississippi,” Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles reiterated. “For us to keep that food local and help demonstrate that we can not only breed it here, feed it here, process it but also serve it, that’s going to open the flood gates for opportunities for other Kentucky farmers.”
“We’re excited that Kroger has taken the first big step,” Quarles continued. “We hope that when consumers vote with their taste buds, opportunities will open up for larger plants and more processing in Kentucky so that this product can be served across the board in restaurants and other grocery stores. It’s all about demonstrating that we can disrupt the business model and keep that beef local.”
The official unveiling of Kentucky Cattlemen’s Ground Beef took place in Lexington and in the Eastgate store in Middletown on March 20, National Agriculture Day, and Quarles remarked “I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate it.”
For now, the beef is available in one-pound packages and in two-pound packages with four patties each. Competitive pricing is designed to fall between store label ground beef and currently available specialty products.
Kroger spokesperson Erin Grant said the chain takes great pride in Kentucky farm families.
“We are thrilled to see the project come to fruition and to offer our customers this completely local product,” Grant said.
The Bluegrass State boast more than 38,000 producers and more than 1 million head of beef cattle.
For more information about Kentucky Cattlemen’s Ground Beef, go to kentuckycattlemensbeef.com.