DES MOINES — The Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) recently launched a local beef directory to connect farmers who sell beef directly to consumers.IBIC spokeswoman Casey Allison says the directory was developed as people started getting more interested in the origins of what they’re eating. “What we’ve seen is that today’s global challenges have really shown us that consumers want to support their local economy,” Allison says. “And we’ve also seen a growing desire by consumers to learn more about how their beef is produced and where they can find those direct marketing opportunities.”The coronavirus pandemic brought even more awareness to the food chain as packing plants were shut down and some producers had to destroy animals. Allison says that it has likely created more interest in local producers. “I think it is driven in part by that — and just people wanting to be more in the know about the ‘pasture to plate’concept and where their food comes from,” she says.The directory allows you to search for local beef producers in your area. “They’re broken out by counties, so they have the freedom to choose whoever they want to buy form such as how they raise the beef. And there is different information on there from comments that producers submit when they turn their comments in — maybe it is pasture-fed or grain-finished. So, the consumer will be able to sift through those comments,” according to Allison.Allison says the Iowa Beef Industry Council does not make any recommendations on who to buy from and is only providing the link to the information. She says they have other information on their site that will help you decide what and how much to buy. “Some different guides that discuss the carcass breakdowns, beef labels, cut guides, storage recommendations, different things like that. Because what people will learn is this is more of a dynamic process than just buying a five-pound or a one-pound package of hamburger,” Allison says. “There’s actually a lot more options available than a person may realize.”For example, there is a guide that tells you how much meet you will get if you get a whole cow, a half, or a quarter.The Iowa Local Beef Directory is available at iabeef.org.