Drought's toll on Nebraska cattle farmers continues to mount. But you wouldn't know the beef industry is hurting from a visit to the Nebraska State Fair, where beef is very much what's for dinner.
They continue to sell a lot more Nebraska certified Angus than they ever did in Lincoln at the Beef Pit.
"There's 600 pounds of meat in there right now," Daryl Griepenstroh said.
Slow and low is the secret to tender pieces of prime rib.
Griepenstroh said, "No seasoning at all on the beef."
The Nebraska Cattlemen Beef Pit has been a runaway success since the state fair's move.
Griepenstroh said, "Crowds are bigger out here in Grand Island than in Lincoln."
Todd Ricenbaw is the chairman of the Beef Pit Committee for the Cattlemen. He said, "A normal night in Lincoln we knew what we needed and first year here we started out and ran out of product in two hours. We were overwhelmed with the people who showed up."
For a cattle farmer like Ricenbaw, it's not only about serving a good meal, but promoting beef and answering questions about nutrition and animal welfare.
He said, "Our cattle industry in the state we are proud of and we want to showcase it here at the Nebraska State Fair."
The cattlemen serve two to three thousand sandwiches a day from their location in the front of the exhibition building.
Ann Bedient of Seward said, "I think this is great, all new, it's clean, really nice."
From noon until three people line up for a taste. Some wait, others adjust their schedules.
"11:30's a good time to come. Come much later than that and stand in long lines," Joyce Haskell of Columbus said.
Hundreds of farmers and ranchers work the kitchen to keep pace with crowds that keeping coming back.
Griepenstroh said, "We've got friends from across the state of Nebraska now."
And if you can't be at the fair, farmers encourage you to put more meat on the table this Labor Day, as a boost to the livestock industry that's been suffering through the drought.
Reporter's Notes by Steve White:
The Beef Pit offers four sandwiches -- prime rib, roast beef, barbecue beef, and a hot dog. They sell them as a meal with chips and a drink for $9 or $10, which they say is a good deal at fair prices.
Various groups volunteer in shifts to staff the Beef Pit.