(NEXSTAR) – The Nebraska Beef Council is raising the stakes for meat-eaters across the state.
On Wednesday, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts touted the launch of the council’s “Beef Passport” program, which encourages residents to order beef dishes and collect passport “stamps” at 41 participating restaurants throughout Nebraska.
Those who participate can submit their passports to be entered for a chance to win — among other things — more beef.
“Nebraska has long been known as the Beef State,” said Ricketts in a news release issued Wednesday morning. “Our cattle industry grows Nebraska by generating over $10 billion in cash receipts each year. The new Beef Passport program gives Nebraskans the opportunity to support our ranchers by dining on delicious cuts of Nebraska beef.”
Also on Wednesday, Ricketts spoke at a press event held inside Misty’s Steakhouse in Lincoln, where he issued his annual proclamation of May as “Beef Month” in Nebraska to “highlight our state’s No. 1 industry.”
During the event, the governor took aim at “attacks on the beef industry,” specifically from “radical environmentalists” and even Bill Gates, for remarks he made to the MIT Technology Review concerning his belief that wealthier countries should switch to beef alternatives.
Ricketts, a Republican, further noted that he previously designated March 20 as “Meat on the Menu Day” in Nebraska, partially in response to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, declaring the same date as a meat-free “MeatOUT Day” in Colorado.
“While meat is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, there are radical anti-agriculture activists that are working to end meat production and our way of life here in Nebraska,” said Ricketts in a statement issued in early March.
Nebraskans hoping to take advantage of the Nebraska Beef Council’s “Beef Passport” program can order their stamp books free of charge at NEBeef.org. Those who collect stamps at one or more of the participating restaurants are eligible to win one of several grilling prize packages; those who collect six or more stamps are entered to win one of two beef bundles valued at $250, and those who visit 11 or more participating restaurants are eligible for a grand prize that includes $500 worth of beef inside an 80-quart Cabela’s cooler.