UACES Facebook Division of Agriculture beef research, education supported by Arkansas Beef Council
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Division of Agriculture beef research, education supported by Arkansas Beef Council

Sept. 2, 2022

By John Lovett
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts

  • Arkansas Beef Council awards over $63,000 to support research, education
  • Research includes flavor, consumer preference, beef quality and shelf life
  • Youth Beef Quiz Bowl supports educating next generation of cattle producers

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Related PHOTOS:, Kelly Vierck and Janeal Yancey;, Derico Setyabrata;, Michael Looper; and, Bryan Kutz.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Animal scientists with the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station were awarded over $63,000 by the Arkansas Beef Council this year to continue research and educational programs on beef production.

Cattle herd with GoGreen ear tags
BEEF RESEARCH —  Arkansas Beef Council grants funded through beef checkoff funds will support several research and extension projects. (U of A System Division of Ag photo by Nick Kordsmeier)

The Agricultural Experiment Station is the research arm of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. Most of the Arkansas Beef Council funds awarded to the Division of Agriculture will go toward research on consumer preference and beef quality.

“Animal science greatly appreciates the Arkansas Beef Council’s support of our research, demonstrations, and youth education programs,” said Michael Looper, professor and head of the animal science department. “Arkansas is a cow-calf state, ranking 11th nationally in the number of beef cows, with a robust stocker cattle industry. This funding allows our faculty and staff to educate our youth on the beef industry and answer applicable questions for our producers that promotes beef in our state and beyond.”

Cattle and calves are one of the top agricultural sectors in Arkansas, valued at more than $356 million in 2020, according to the Division of Agriculture’s 2021 Arkansas Agriculture Profile.

Research support

Kelly Vierck, assistant professor of animal science, was awarded $19,600 for her study on determining palatability improvements in Bos indicus cattle. Palatability for this study includes all aspects of the eating experience, from flavor and texture to juiciness, tenderness and appearance.

Also known as zebu or Brahman, Bos indicus cattle were first domesticated in the Indus valley region of modern-day Pakistan. They can adapt to hot, dry conditions and have a high tolerance to parasites.

Vierck was also awarded $12,105 to support her study on the influence of retail display conditions on beef color and stability.

“The research generously funded by the Arkansas Beef Council will help Arkansas beef producers and retailers to achieve the goal of improved sustainability in the beef industry,” Vierck said. “By improving cattle efficiency in warming climates and reducing food waste at retail, we can help provide higher quality, more sustainable products to consumers.”

Derico Setyabrata, assistant professor of meat science and muscle biology, was awarded $18,900 to support his study on meat microbiome to predict beef quality and shelf life.

“The project will be really helpful in further understanding the role of microorganisms and their interaction with meat products, potentially helping to create more sustainable meat systems,” Setyabrata said.

Education support

The Arkansas Beef Council awarded $2,600 for the Division of Agriculture’s Youth Beef Quiz Bowl. The quiz bowl is open to members of 4-H and Future Farmers of America.

Bryan Kutz, teaching assistant professor and extension youth specialist with the animal science department, said the activity provides students in Arkansas an incentive to learn more about management, food safety, forage nutrition, quality assurance and the final beef product. The funding also supports development of material for county extension agents and vocational agriculture instructors to further the learning process beyond that of beef 4-H and FFA projects. 

Youth Beef Quiz Bowl participants are tested on many levels of difficulty. The questions are compiled by animal science faculty and cover all aspects of beef production and the final product.

Kutz says preparation for the contest allows students to sharpen their knowledge about beef cattle production. Additionally, students improve communication, goal setting, critical thinking and team building skills.

“This program has a great impact on educating students and encouraging a broadened perspective about their role in beef production, food safety and consumer acceptance,” Kutz said.

Janeal Yancey, program technician for the animal science department, was awarded $8,650 to continue holding the Beef Short Course. The course is part of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s leadership class and will be held Nov. 7-9.

The Beef Short Course offers speakers and experiences to improve participant’s knowledge in the feedlot and beef processing industries. Participants also will process a beef carcass side into wholesale and retail cuts.

The Arkansas Beef Council also awarded Yancey $1,500 for the enhancement of her “Mom at the Meat Counter” blog, and beef products for the 4-H Meats Judging Contest and youth education.

About the Arkansas Beef Council

The Arkansas Beef Council was established by state legislation to oversee and administer the beef checkoff program in Arkansas. The council is responsible for collecting the nationally legislated $1 per head checkoff on all cattle, regardless of age or size, marketed in Arkansas and for distributing those funds in accordance with provisions of the Order. 

Congress established the national Beef Checkoff Program with the passage of the 1985 Farm Bill. On the national level, the Beef Checkoff Program is overseen by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.

To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk. To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact: John Lovett
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station
(479) 763-5929