McGregor Encourages Beef Producers to Help Connect Gate to Plate

Scott McGregorWhen you have a product to sell – whether its athletic shoes or beef cattle – you need to know market trends. Did you know Millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation? That equates to $2.45 trillion in buying power! It also explains why beef producers like Scott McGregor of Nashua, Iowa, are allocating more resources toward reaching this important target market.

Scott and his wife, Tracy, live on the home place purchased in 1936 by Scott’s grandfather. Tracy teaches physical education and music at Nashua-Plainfield Elementary. Scott farms with his two brothers, David and Allan, as well as his nephew Patrick. Scott and Tracy’s sons both graduated from Iowa State University. Brendan earned a degree in marketing and works in Des Moines. Chet earned a degree in Ag Studies and helps a neighbor farm and raise cattle.

“As beef producers, our message to millennials needs to include information about the nutritional profile of the beef. I want people to feel confident about the food they eat,” explains Scott, who represents the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) as co-chair of the Consumer Trust Committee, a joint committee between the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the NCBA. “We need consumer trust to market our products, so we’re placing more emphasis on the safety and quality of our beef.”

Younger consumers are trending toward more health-conscious eating, so American beef producers are using social media and digital advertisements to get out the message that beef is part of a healthy diet. One serving of beef, which is 3 ounces or about the size of an iPhone, provides our bodies with nearly half of its needed protein plus 10 essential nutrients including zinc, iron, protein (ZIP) and B vitamins.

Consumers want to know the food on grocery store shelves is safe and nutritious. Today’s shoppers look for food labels to help them feel better about their food choices. That’s why Scott, who was recently appointed to the National Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Task Force, believes more beef producers will become certified than ever before in the 25-year history of BQA. New beef harvesting facilities will only buy from BQA-certified producers. Plus, QR codes could allow cattle to be traced back to the farm of origin.

Spring cattle drive out to pasture

Spring cattle drive out to pasture

“So many consumers have lost sight that food on the grocery store shelves comes from a farm,” explains Scott, past chairman and currently federation director for the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “BQA can help them connect the food on their table right back to the farm where it was raised.”

Turning the herd out to summer pasture for the breeding season.

Turning the herd out to summer pasture for the breeding season.

This fourth generation Iowa farmer is so passionate about connecting the farm gate to the dinner plate that he’s spent time in the classroom each year for the past 10 years, teaching history to 11th graders taking an Iowa Studies class at the Nashua-Plainfield High School. Scott makes beef production relate-able to each student in the class by giving samples of beef sticks or jerky and delivering a presentation entitled, “My Cheeseburger Came from the Farm.”

Fall weaning drive

Fall weaning drive

Is it any surprise that a tenderized ground round patty made from Certified Angus Beef® like he raises is one of Scott’s favorite quick meals? You can create a similar sandwich by asking the person behind your local meat counter to run ground round through the tenderizer before making it into patties.

Make a stop at the store, and fire up that grill!

Quick Steak Sandwich with Sweet Bell Pepper and Vidalia Onion Topping


  • 4, 1/4-pound meat patties
  • 1 red pepper, sliced (1/4" thick)
  • 1 green pepper, sliced (1/4" thick)
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced (1/4" thick)
  • 1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced


  1. Marinate meat overnight in Wishbone® Italian dressing.
  2. Prepare the vegetable topping:
    • Place cast iron skillet on the grill rack. Add 2 or 3 Tablespoons of olive oil and heat.
    • Next add peppers and onion; cover pan. Stir vegetables occasionally and cook for about 20 minutes, until crisp-tender
    • Click here if you want to follow the food trend for caramelized onions.
  3. Then grill meat to proper doneness. Rather than relying on the color of the burger to determine doneness, use a clean instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature. Cook burgers to 160 degrees.
  4. Put a twist on a classic sandwich by adding garlic aioli and two types of hand cut cheese, such as Sharp Cheddar, Swiss or Provolone.
  5. Serve patties topped with cheese and veggies on toast or grilled Texas toast.