Gov. Terry Branstad has officially proclaimed May as Beef Month in Iowa.
For many of us, every month is a time to partake of a food that ranks high on the list of culinary favorites.
It's no secret that Americans have a love affair with beef. That's been true for generations and the demand for this tasty and healthy product is on the rise - up about 15 percent in the last decade.
The passion for beef is widely shared in the Hawkeye State. It is the beef industry's vital role in the state's economy, however, that warrants special recognition.
The governor took note in his proclamation of some impressive facts about this important part of Iowa agriculture:
Iowa had 3.9 million head of cattle as of Jan. 1, making it a major beef producing state.
The beef industry adds $5.1 billion to the Iowa economy each year and provides jobs to almost 40,000 Iowans.
Beef is a nutrient-rich food. It provides protein, zinc and B-vitamins.
Beef producers have an environmental commitment that makes them excellent caretakers of the state's land.
Iowa is a leader in the worldwide export of high-quality beef.
Iowans have celebrated Beef Month for more than four decades and with good reason. There can be little doubt that Iowa helps set the standard nationally for production of top-quality beef.
Iowa's beef producers take pride in their role in helping feed not only our nation but also the world beyond. Beef Month is a good time for us all to reflect on this industry's importance to Iowa.