America's Big Beef

Missouri beef producers voted down a referendum that would have established a fund to promote Missouri beef.
File: Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

Missouri’s beef producers roundly rejected a proposal that would have forced them to pay an extra dollar for every head of cattle they sell.

Some in the beef industry wanted to add the fee to create what’s called a state beef checkoff – a fund meant to promote Missouri beef and beef research.

Nearly 75 percent of the beef producers that voted in a state referendum by mail rejected the proposal, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture. In all, 6,568 valid ballots were returned, the department said.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

When Allen Berry brought his 11 yearlings to the Green City Livestock Market in central Missouri last month, he paid into a fund that at first blush, seems a bargain.

Jeremy Bernfeld / Harvest Public Media

You think you deal with a lot of bull crap? Allan Sents needs a front-end loader and a dump truck to deal with all the cattle manure he’s up against. Literally.

Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

Backstage behind the cattle pens at the giant livestock show at the American Royal in Kansas City, Mo., “cow fitter” Maddee Moore was awash in glamour goods.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Agricultural colleges in the top five beef-producing states have become quasi-arms of the cattle industry, selling science to corporate bidders who set the research agenda with their dollars.

Thomas Bjørkan

Just how much influence does Big Beef have in Cowtown?

Workers trim beef at the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Dakota City, Neb. The plant employs about 4,000 people.
Keith Myers / The Kansas City Star

What should you know about the beef on your table? The Kansas City Star answered that question with a three-part series on the beef industry.

New Reporting Series Covers 'America's Big Beef'

Dec 7, 2012

On Monday, Harvest Public Media launches a five-part series called "America’s Big Beef: An Industry in Transition." It's a deep dive into the big business of cattle.