Dietetic interns participate in a beef from pasture to plate tour

2015 MDI Tour press release picBILLINGS – Earlier this week the Montana Beef Council hosted another successful pasture to plate tour for nearly twenty Montana Dietetic Internship (MDI) students pursuing a career as a Registered Dietitian. The tour was conducted in Two Dot, Montana with local ranchers Jed and Annie Evjene where the attendees were able to experience first-hand where and how beef is raised on the American Fork Ranch.

This year’s tour began at the historic ranch headquarters where the Evjene’s explained the family ranching operation and the history of the area to the interns to help them understand the importance of agriculture and specifically beef production.

“It is important for me to help you understand where food comes from,” Jed Evjene told the interns. “There is a lot of misinformation out there about ranching practices and we are here with our gate open for you to see real ranching practices first-hand.”

Throughout the tour the interns not only had the opportunity to see cattle and horses, but also calving facilities, rangeland and more. Jed shared his passion for maintaining the land and water as they are vital to sustainability. While touring around the ranch the interns learned about the entire beef cycle and that cattle spend the majority of their lives on pasture. Evjene’s also shared their experience of being chosen as Regional Environmental Stewardship Award recipients and the responsibility they feel to continue teaching others about ranching and their commitment to care for the cattle and natural resources.

Next, over a healthy beef lunch, the interns learned about beef nutrition from Registered Dietitian Lisa Murray, including lean cuts of beef, optimal protein levels in the diet, beef’s fatty acid profile, and new research showing beef’s positive role in heart healthy diet.

“Beef has 10 essential nutrients and just 150 calories per three-ounce serving and there are more lean beef choices today than ever before so you can feel confident in helping your patients keep beef in their diet,” said Murray.

Leaving the pasture, the tour headed to The Grand Hotel in Big Timber where Chef Amy Smith demonstrated multiple ways to cut beef as well as providing samples of recipes from The Healthy Beef Cookbook.

“Steak is cool,” exclaimed one intern after the presentation.

To complete the day, the interns then toured Pioneer Meats of Big Timber to get a back-of-the-house look at a custom butcher shop with owner Brian Engle. Brian’s passion for quality was evident as he detailed every aspect of their award-winning family-run processing facility.

The theme of the internship is a systems approach to sustainability and sustainable foods and Montana Beef Council has worked with Montana State University, Bozeman to provide this tour as a tangible learning experience during their internship. Following this tour, the interns will disperse across the state to continue their dietetic internship with rotations in clinical dietetics, community nutrition, and foodservice management.  Interns successfully completing MDI will obtain a certificate that qualifies graduates to take the dietetic registration exam.

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The Montana Beef Council is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international consumer marketing programs including promotion, education and research, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers. For more information, contact Lisa Murray, RD at (406) 656-3336 or