051009 South Dakota Begins Certified Beef Program
Monday evening, Governor Mike Rounds and friends dined on beef raised, processed and approved through the South Dakota Certified Beef program. Minerva's restaurant in Sioux Falls offered four special menu items to about 130 invited guests.
Marshall John's Beef provided the filets, strips, ribeyes and top sirloin for the dinner. Some processors and producers had already taken orders for South Dakota certified beef, but Monday marked the first time a restaurant had featured the product.
The state-sponsored process verification program, proposed by the governor and approved by the legislature earlier this year, electronically tracks cattle from birth through slaughter to ensure requirements are met. Only cattle born in South Dakota, raised under strict guidelines and processed at approved meat lockers or packing plants will get the state seal of approval. Officials believe that establishing a South Dakota brand will help increase profits earned by cattlemen.
So far sixty-three cattle raisers from cow-calf operations to feedlots have been certified, said Kara Nagel, of the S.D. Department of Agriculture. Four processing plants have been licensed for the program.