Steaks Are High As Nebraska Governor Announces New ‘Beef Passport’ Program

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May 7, 2021 3:09 p.m.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) announced this week a new “beef passport” program where people can collect stamps every time they order a beef dish from a participating restaurant. 

The grand prize? More beef. 

Ricketts unveiled the program on Wednesday as he signed the proclamation naming May “beef month.” A sign propped up next to him declared: “Good life, great steaks.”  

“It’s especially important that we highlight what beef does for our state with all the attacks that have been coming from the radical environmentalists to Bill Gates on the beef industry,” he said, mentioning that Colorado recently instituted “meatless Tuesday or something like that.” 

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) issued a largely ceremonial proclamation declaring March 20 “MeatOut Day,” encouraging Coloradans to eat less meat both for environmental and health reasons. The backlash was so intense that Polis established “Colorado Livestock Proud Day” a few days later, and meekly offered up his personal brisket recipe. 

Ricketts was part of the backlash, retaliating by naming March 20 “Meat on the Menu Day” in his state. 

During his speech, Ricketts said that three ounces of beef provides more protein than three cups of quinoa. 

“Who wants to eat three cups of quinoa anyway?” he asked a chuckling crowd. 

For the lowly beef consumers who only accumulate one to five stamps, the potential prize is a set of grilling accouterments. For those who collect six to 10, there’s a mystery-shrouded “beef bundle” valued at $250. And the gold medal, the grand prize, the shoot-for-the-moon reward? A hulking 80-quart cooler stuffed to the rafters with $500 worth of beef. Some more beef to go with your beef. 

The news cycle has been beef-heavy recently, as last week rightwing media briefly lit up with outrage over President Joe Biden’s red meat ban. In reality, there is no such ban. A speculative Daily Mail article suggested that in Biden’s still unreleased climate plan, he could suggest a draconian meat ban to help curb greenhouse gas emissions. The article connected to Biden’s plan an unrelated University of Michigan study from 2020 (before Biden was president) in which researchers ran a scenario involving a 90 percent drop in beef consumption. 

The resulting disinformation, blasted across Fox News and its many rightwing distributaries, concluded that Biden’s plan would entail a red meat ban keeping Americans to one hamburger worth of red meat per month. 

As Ricketts’ agriculture director Steve Wellman put it: “Happy beef month.”

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