Food production has become one of the most publicized topics in this decade, yet many consumers don’t know where to find accurate information about the people who grow, cultivate and raise the food they eat. By utilizing beef checkoff resources, America’s cattle farmers and ranchers initiated "Close-Up on Modern Beef Production" to provide consumers with a “behind-the-scenes” view of how beef gets from pasture to plate. The project is a collection of three videos made by student filmmakers showcasing different areas of beef production. 

To inspire awareness and encourage all consumers to take charge of their food choices, the Beef Checkoff Program selected three student filmmakers to receive funding to produce 20-minute documentaries on various aspects of U.S. farming and ranching. This enables the viewer to explore the beef production process along with the student, none of whom were raised with close ties to agriculture or the food industry.

The filmmakers include Michael DeTerra, a senior at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.; Katie Griffith, a recent graduate of West Virginia University in Morgantown, W. Va.; and Kevin Smith, a graduate student at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. DeTerra’s video examines animal welfare today and how it has evolved over the past 30 years; Griffith’s video explores families who work in beef production and their motivations for doing so; and, Smith’s video discusses the environmental impact of beef farming and ranching.

“To give viewers a holistic and objective view, the student filmmakers interviewed more than 30 beef farmers, ranchers and experts in 10 different states,” says Daryl Berlier-Owen, cow-calf producer from Amarillo, Texas, and chair of the industry’s Public Opinion & Issues Management Group. “The films were commissioned with the hope that farmers and ranchers could be afforded the opportunity to tell their story. And, the program was purposely created to spark the interest of younger filmmakers in order to allow them to craft a story that objectively represents modern beef production and the components involved.”

The three student documentaries can be viewed on and will be screened at a series of industry and consumer education events across the country.

For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit

Source: Beef Checkoff