The Ohio Collegiate Cattle Association is taking a trip across the Olentangy River Friday for a day-long event informing the main campus community on all-things beef.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the OCCA will be at the RPAC answering students’ questions about animal agriculture and the beef industry. Its goal is to inform students about proper methods to buy and prepare beef products and to explain the benefits beef provides.
Dee Jepsen, faculty adviser for the group and an agricultural engineering professor, said OCCA is “a group looking at consumer awareness about the protein benefits of the [beef] products, busting myths about the industry … millennial to millennial.”
What interested her in the group, she said, was the focus on correcting common misconceptions and combatting what she believes is the media’s biased or false claims about animal welfare and beef nutrition in the beef industry. At the end of every event after OCAA provides information on the industry, members ask students if their opinions have changed
“We have connections, and can go and get answers for them … to improve the understanding of how cattle are treated,” Jepsen said.
Mackenzie Chamberlain, a fourth-year in athletic training, said it was her love of the cattle industry that got her involved in OCCA. While much of her time is spent around people from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, she said it’s important for everyone to be informed about the animal agriculture industry.
“We want to bridge the gap,” Chamberlain said. “Really, if you haven’t been raised in an agricultural background or know the facts, you just go with what’s in the news or media.”
She said relying solely on the media does not allow for a true understanding of beef and agricultural processes involved in its production.
“[News audiences] kind of believe what is given to them without hearing the other side — which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong,” Chamberlain said. “It’s just a lack of knowledge that hasn’t been given to them.”
In addition to Friday’s event, OCCA will also be advertising its third-annual Take the Steak competition 10 a.m. Saturday. The competition is a team grill-off challenge on the lawn of the Agricultural Administration Building.
Take the Steak consists of three rounds and is similar to the Food Network TV series, “Chopped.” Teams will be given a cut of beef and a theme for each round. The winning team will get bragging rights and the steak trophy, Jepsen said.