In 2020 (the latest United States Department of Agriculture figures available), the Arizona beef industry generated $673 million in cash receipts. In previous years, the cash receipts have been as high as one billion dollars. With all 15 Arizona counties hosting cattle operations, numerous Arizona family ranches are 4th, 5th and 6th generations. So, labeling Arizona “beef country” is fitting.

Certainly, those in agriculture know how important the beef industry is to Arizona and the country. Others are sounding this clarion call too. They happen to be nutritionists. 

Nutrition experts recommend choosing minimally processed meats, as well as cooking beef, pork and lamb at low temperatures -- like roasting, stewing, poaching and baking -- to preserve their nutrient integrity. 

Registered dietitian Diana Rodgers said meat contains nutrients you can't get elsewhere, such as heme iron and vitamin B-12, which are important for energy and brain health.

Specifically, eating beef protein supplies iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium, vitamins A, D, B12, and fatty acids to your body. These nutrients promote good vision, stronger teeth and bones, support the central nervous system, and promote overall mental health. In general, red meat is rich in iron from hemoglobin, which is better absorbed by the body as opposed to iron found in beans or leafy greens, which can also prevent anemia. Meats contain all the essential amino acids and rank as a top source of protein while controlling blood sugar and improving cardiovascular function.

Additional studies are confirming the brain health of especially beef for youth, and they are growing. In another source, meat protein is considered a high-quality, high-performance protein.

Arizona Farm Bureau is dedicated, along with other organizations including the Arizona Beef Council, to telling Arizona’s beef story. Arizona agriculture would not be Arizona agriculture without our beef industry. We’re also known for the quality of our beef.

Arizona Farm Bureau’s Fill Your Plate blog has extensive coverage on the importance of protein meat in your diet and certainly, beef, pork and lamb.