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FY14 Checkoff Program Update Webinars

summer conf banner 2014 croppedBeef producers and importers who serve on national program committees for the Beef Checkoff Program continue their preparations for reviewing proposals for fiscal 2015 programs this week by reviewing program updates for year-to-date fiscal 2014. Below are links to recorded webinars from checkoff contractors managing programs this year. Join committee members in following the efforts of you beef checkoff investments by viewing the same information as checkoff leaders do.

Access these video presentations, organized by contractor, at the following links:

NOTE: *If you have difficulty opening any of these files, it might be that your default media player isn’t working properly, and you might need to upgrade your software or download a player, such as “VLC Media Player,” which is free at http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html.

  1. American National Cattlewomen webinar
  2. Cattlemen’s Beef Board (producer communications)
  3. Meat Import Council of America webinar
  4. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association webinar
  5. National Livestock Producers Association webinar
  6. North American Meat Association (veal issues management & veal quality assurance)
  7. North American Meat Association (veal promotion)
  8. North American Meat Association research report (to view this update, click on the link to open the PowerPoint, then click on “Slide Show” at the top of the page, and then on “From Beginning” at the very left of the top menu)
  9. U.S. Meat Export Federation webinar

If you are unable to download any video, please contact dhenderson@beefboard.org.


2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference

bear pixProducers who sit on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Federation of State Beef Councils are preparing for the 2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, where they will meet in committees to make program recommendations for fiscal 2015.

The Cattle Industry Summer Conference is on tap for July 30 – Aug. 2, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Denver, 650 15th St., Denver, Colo. 80202; 303-436-1234.

All beef producers and importers who pay the beef checkoff assessment are welcome to attend any or all checkoff meetings during the conference free of charge. View the Summer Conference schedule, with CBB meetings highlighted, HERE.

Separate from the meetings of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and joint checkoff committees, the summer conference includes meetings of American National CattleWomen, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation, which require registration and associated fees, but checkoff meetings are always open to all beef producers and importers.

Review Preliminary Plans for FY 2015

My Beef Checkoff Can - Color low resCattlemen’s Beef Board members and Federation of State Beef Council directors who make up the joint program committees to review beef-industry contractor proposals for beef-checkoff funding begin their role in the planning process this week, with review of preliminary proposals for 2015.

Review takes place via individual committee-member viewings of recorded presentations from beef-industry contractors. These webinars present preliminary program proposals for checkoff funding in fiscal year 2015, which begins Oct. 1, 2014.

Access these video presentations, organized by the checkoff committee that reviews each, at the following links:

NOTE: *If you have difficulty opening any of these files, it might be that your default media player isn’t working properly, and you might need to upgrade your software or download a player, such as “VLC Media Player,” which is free at http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html.






Operating, Executive Committees Meet in Denver

OC postMembers of the 2014 Beef Promotion Operating Committee are amid their first regular meeting of the year this morning, in the wake of yesterday’s orientation session (see previous post)

Chaired by Cattlemen’s Beef Board Chairman Kim Brackett, the committee  started off the meeting with a financial report from Beef Board CFO Katherine Ayers, followed by approval of no-cost extensions of two Authorization Requests and discussion of the content of the form required for submission of a request for checkoff funding from contractors and potential contractors. The committee unanimously approved a motion to ask contractors to include additional information about partnership or non-checkoff funding from outside sources on the Authorization Requests (requests for checkoff funding), and approved a final format for the 2015 requests.

Coming up on the agenda yet this morning is a discussion of priorities for checkoff funding in FY 2015, which begins Oct. 1. Those priorities are based on recommendations made by joint program committees at the 2014 Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville Feb. 4-7. See a copy of those recommendations, by committee and subcommittee, at FY 2015 Priorities.

Following the Operating Committee meeting, the CBB Executive Committee will gather for its regular meeting, as well. On the agenda for that leadership committee are review of a couple of checkoff partnerships submitted by checkoff contractors and a state beef council to leverage checkoff investments with contributions from retail and foodservice companies.

Chaired by CBB Vice Chairman Jimmy Maxey, the Executive Committee also will discuss Beef Board member evaluations of the 2014 Cattle Industry convention to help staff make adjustments and/or improvements at upcoming checkoff meetings and conventions, and it will review the status of state beef council marketing plans and financial reviews.

For a list of members on these two committees, see the orientation post below, and for more information about your beef checkoff investments, visit www.MyBeefCheckoff.com.

Checkoff Leadership Gets Oriented

blog postMembers of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Federation of State Beef Councils who were elected to the 2014 Beef Promotion Operating Committee or CBB Executive Committee are gathered in Denver today for an orientation to learn about their roles on these two leadership committees.

The orientation kicked off with a discussion about the fundamentals of the checkoff program and checkoff leadership. Other items on the agenda for this orientation include:

  • Checkoff planning flow
  • Checkoff budgeting processes
  • Understanding budgets and financial statements
  • Expenditure compliance
  • Understanding ARs and evaluations
  • Collections Compliance
  • CBB Officer responsibilities
  • Effective meetings
  • Role as spokespeople for the checkoff

Members of the 2014 CBB Executive Committee are Jimmy Maxey (chairman); Anne Anderson; Dean Black; Kim Brackett; Laurie Bryant; Barbara Jackson; Mike McCormick; Brett Morris; Laurie Munns; Kent Pruismann; Gary Sharp; and Weldon Wynn (immediate past CBB chair, serve in ex-officio/advisory capacity only).

Members of the 2014 Operating Committee are CBB members Kim Brackett (Chair); Marty Andersen; Anne Anderson; Sarah Childs; Dave Edmiston; Linda Gilbert; Ted Greidanus; Brittany Howell; Jimmy Maxey and Hank Maxey; and Federation members Cevin Jones (Vice-Chair); Austin Brown III; Clay Burtrum; Dawn Caldwell; Terri Carstensen; Jerry Effertz; Steve Hanson; Jennifer Houston; Scott McGregor; and Irv Petsch.

New CBB Officers, Leadership, Passing of the Gavel

20140207_094848During its final meeting at the 2014 Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 7, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) unanimously elected Kim Brackett of Buhl, Idaho, to serve as CBB chairman for the coming year; Jimmy Maxey of Fresno, Calif., to serve as vice chairman; and Anne Anderson of Austin, Texas, to fill the position of Beef Board secretary/treasurer for 2014.

You can find the full release here. The Beef Board also elected members to serve on the CBB Executive Committee and others to fill the CBB seats on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee.

During the Board meeting, Weldon Wynn passed the gavel on to Kim Brackett. Get to know your 2014 Beef Board chair here.

The Power of Cooperation

Ruhland, Polly 2013 with glasses - for postingAt the close of the 2014 Cattle Industry Convention, Cattlemen’s Beef Board CEO Polly Ruhland began her management report with a powerful message about cooperation:

Cooperation. Working together toward the same end. For common, mutual, benefit. Sam Walton, who arguably created one of the most successful companies in the world, said the secret to that success was, simply, “working together.” Alexander Graham Bell said: “Great discovering and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds.” Indeed, we can find one successful leader after another reminding us that the key to bringing any company or undertaking to fruition or improvement is – you guessed it, “working together.” So it’s not just a frivolous thing to say, or a good talk to talk. For the beef industry and the Beef Checkoff Program, it’s a necessity, and one that requires every one of us to espouse with commitment, for the greater good of our industry.

You can read Polly’s full speech here.

And at the end of another successful Annual Meeting, she left the Board with these thoughts:
As you learned and discussed in your committees and other meetings this week, our checkoff is ripe with opportunities, and it is through creativity and innovation that we bring those opportunities to fruition. And those opportunities only ripen and prosper when we incorporate a diversity of opinions, work together … and cooperate.

CBB Executive Committee Actions

EC - 1 - for postingDuring its meeting this evening, at the 2014 Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board Executive Committee endorsed a report from a Special Committee on URMIS that it will deliver to the full Beef Board for a vote tomorrow. All members of the Beef Board will have an opportunity to comment about the report on Friday morning, when the special committee chairman — CBB Member Dean Black of Iowa — will present the full history and review of the committee and its report.EC - 2 - for posting

In other actions today, the Executive Committee heard results of the latest Producer Attitude Survey, which recorded the highest level of checkoff approval among producers across the country in 21 years, at 78 percent.

The random survey conducted by the independent firm Aspen Media & Market Research in late December 2013 and early January 2014 found an overwhelming majority of beef and dairy producers continue to say their beef checkoff has value for them in many ways:

  • Eight out of 10 producers say the beef checkoff has helped to contribute to a positive trend in beef demand.
  • 71 percent of producers say the beef checkoff contributes to the profitability of their operations.
  • 77 percent say the checkoff is there for them in a crisis.
  • 79 percent say the checkoff represents their interests.
  • Two in three beef producers believe the checkoff is well managed.

“Despite being challenged by drought, critics of the checkoff and groups who would like to see us go out of business,” says Producer Communications Working Group (PCWG) Chairman Jeanne Harland, “beef and dairy producers continue to see more in their Beef Checkoff Program than just paying for a few ads or a few promotions. I’m one of the eight out of 10 who believe the checkoff has helped to contribute to a positive trend in beef demand.

“The beef checkoff has, for nearly 28 years, served the beef industry with programs producers want and that is why we see the checkoff ‘as representing our interests’ according to the survey,” she said.

Setting Priorities for Beef Safety Research

The Joint Safety Subcommittee today reviewed beef checkoff programming efforts that focus on enhancing beef safety. Beef checkoff contractors updated subcommittee members about ongoing Beef Safety Comm to postcheckoff-funded research projects in the areas of pre-harvest pathogen reduction, post-harvest safety interventions, and safety research dissemination and outreach to industry partners. Some of theBeef Safety Comm to post 2 main outreach programs that the checkoff helps fund includes the annual Beef Industry Safety Summit and the annual symposium hosted by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture.

FY2013 research focused on understanding and combating the risks the industry faces from salmonella, and FY2014 research has a broader scope. Contractors currently are requesting proposals for FY2014 research projects and will update the subcommittee at summer conference regarding which projects are selected.

The subcommittee also brainstormed beef safety challenges and opportunities  and discussed how the checkoff should prioritize research efforts to continue to enhance the safety of our product.

Research contractor staff and committee leadership will attend the upcoming 2014 Beef Industry Safety Summit in Dallas, TX on March 4-6.

Opportunities Around Beef’s Nutrition Profile

NutritionMembers of the checkoff’s Nutrition & Health Subcommittee engaged in discusion about the opportunities available for the beef industry to “influence the influencers” and educate consumers about beef’s nutrient-dense profile and capitalize on its value for a variety of trendy ethnic dishes.

In the end, this subcommittee identified the following priorities for maximizing checkoff dollars toward nutrition and health messages and programming in fiscal 2015:

  • Develop/execute creative communication initiatives with an increased emphasis on mobile devices.
  • Educate, enable and engage key influencers and opinion leaders in communicating the positive health and nutrition benefits of beef.
  • Collaborate with industry stakeholders to develop and implement demand generation initiatives based on consumer needs and preferences.

Enhancing Beef Producers’ Freedom to Operate

KimStackhosueDuring committee meetings at the 2014 Annual Cattle Industry Conference this afternoon, Dr. Kim Stackhouse gave members of the Freedom to Operate committee an update about sustainability and the recently released Sustainability Executive Summary, which is a summary of Phase 1 of the checkoff-funded research.

“What does sustainability look like in 2015?,” Stackhouse asked. “There’s still a lack of science, but the checkoff is the only one funding this work and therefore it is imperative to keep improving the science.”

As noted in the sustainability report:

One of the greatest opportunities for improvement is a reduction of food waste. An estimated 40 percent of all food produced in the United States is wasted, contributing to losses in efficiency across the entire food value chain. Food waste costs the average American family approximately $2,500 annually. Although beef waste is about 20 percent of consumable product, it is still a significant burden and represents a major opportunity to improve the sustainability of the beef industry. By cutting beef waste in half, the full beef value chain would achieve an approximate 10 percent improvement in full-chain sustainability.

RyanCheckoff staff member Ryan Ruppert updated the committee about the checkoff’s Beef Quality Assurance program, reporting that 80,000 producers (or about 10 percent of producers in the United States) are BQA-certified, and 36 state BQA coordinators have attended training, showing the industry’s commitment to producing safe beef.

As announced yesterday, Ruppert further noted, the BQA program is giving producers the chance to become certified for free thanks to a partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) and the Beef Cattle Institute housed at Kansas State University for the second consecutive year. The cost of BQA certification is normally $25 to $50; from Feb. 3 - April 15, 2014, however, BIVI will cover the cost of the certification or recertification.

Visit www.bqa.org/team or www.BIVI-BQA.com to get started, and listen to my interview here with Ryan about the importance of BQA certification.

Listen to Ruppert explain

Learn more about the Freedom to Operate Committee here.

Making the Crockpot Convenient for Consumers

Convenience to postMillennial consumers have said loud and clear that convenience is an important factor in making decisions about food purchases, including beef. Therein lies the reason for the checkoff’s joint Convenience Subcommittee, which falls under Domestic Consumer Preference parent committee.

In this afternoon’s Convenience Subcommittee meeting, members heard from checkoff contractor staff about checkoff-funded efforts now in play to meet these consumers’ demands for convenience. That includes making cooking beef in the crockpot easier through current efforts to create prepackaged seasons beef cuts ready for simply tossing in the crockpot to create dinner in a single step.

One of the challenges that this subcommittee has identified in setting priorities for checkoff programs in fiscal 2015 include the fact that 50 percent of consumer suppers are planned after 4:30 p.m. With that in mind, checkoff staff noted that efforts also are underway to provide information and communicate to consumers about fast defrosting.

Satisfying Consumer Preference for Beef

MemberValues of the checkoff’s joint Value Subcommittee is among the program committees meeting in Nashville this afternoon to begin setting priorities for checkoff programs addressing the value that beef provides to consumers, in fiscal 2015.

The Value subcommittee is among those that fall under the Domestic Consumer Preference Committee, and the specific mission of this subcommittee is “to satisfy consumer preference for beef in order to be competitive in the consumer marketplace.”

As their meeting got underway today, members of the Value Subcommittee worked to understand how consumers define beef’s value and how the industry can give consumers a greater value for their dollar. After all, enhancing beef’s value is key to maintaining consumer willingness to pay — particularly in periods of low supply.

Adding Value to U.S. Beef

Global growth - Greg Hanes - for postingThe checkoff’s Global Growth Committee is looking at international marketing opportunities for the U.S. beef industry to consumers worldwide, which includes identifying the needs and demands of a tremendous number of different peoples and cultures.

Pictured here, Greg Hanes of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, talked with consumers about a variety of opportunities in the global marketplace, including increasing sales of many products — such as tongue and intestine — that are not consumed much in the U.S. but bring high returns in other countries, adding value to producers in the U.S.

Hanes said these marketing opportunities provide added value to nearly all cattle produced. In addition, markets such as Japan, Korea and others, offer marketing opportunites for higher value cuts as well.

Consistency, Transparency Critical to Beef’s Image

beef's image2 for postingA positive image of the beef industry in the minds of consumers is critical to its success. That’s why members of the checkoff’s Beef’s Image Committee are reviewing the best ways to share the true beef story with consumers worldwide.

At its meeting this afternoon, this committee broke into groups in an exercise aimed at reducing a list of more than a dozen priorities, or initiatives, that committee leadership has deemed possibly pertinent to this committee’s work down to just three or four top priorities for funding in fiscal 2015.

In their breakout groups, these committee members are considering the following questions:

  1. Is this the right initiative for the Beef’s Image Subcommittee?
  2. Does this initiative fit another committee better?
  3. What are the challenges related to this initative?
  4. What are the priorities related to this initiative?
  5. What do we hope to achieve as the Beef’s Image Subcommittee with this initiative?


Priorities named by breakout groups include things like development of transparent and consistent messages about safety, quality and humane stewardship; presentation of individual personalities and diversity within the beef industry; incorporating key wording into search engines to direct consumers to checkoff sites and provide accurate answers there for them; identification of viable influencer relationships; and reinforcing the value of beef products to consumers.

Taste Subcommittee Takes on Consumer Challenges

Taste - Meredith Stevens Millennial info - to postAs members of the Taste Subcommittee listened to checkoff staff presenting results of research about the beef checkoff’s target audience — the millennial generation — they got some pretty pertinent news: The research indicates that taste is the most important factor in these consumers beef-buying decisions.

taste5Of course, there are a lot of other important factors, but it seems that this subcommittee can feel pretty comfortable that it is focusing on a tremendously relevant demand driver, as the checkoff’s program committees work this afternoon to set priorities for checkoff spending in fiscal 2015.

As part of the meeting, members of the committee participated in a beef-tasting exercise — including ribeye and flat iron steaks, as well as post roast — to illustrate the difficulties that millennials have describing the taste of beef.

Archie Manning: Keep Priorities in Order

Archie Manning Gen Session 2“Character is the ability to carry out resolutions long after the mood is gone.”

That was just one of the many insights about good leadership that football legend Archie Manning shared with folks at General Session II of the 2014 Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville. Manning’s sons include former football star Cooper Manning and current NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning.

Mr. Manning talked about life as a renowed professional football player, a husband, father of three boys and of three football players, as well as son, leader, small-town hero, and survivor. The crowd seemed glued to his every word — and his sometimes-humorous stories — and honored him with a rousing standing ovation when he wrapped up.

“You all invited a beef lover here,” he said of speaking at the cattle industry convention, adding “I love beef!” That, of course, drew a tremendous round of applause, as he also talked of getting together with his “boys” a few times a year for a weekend golf outing or the like, and always “going to get a big ol’ T-bone!”

In addressing the fact that beef industry leaders — like all leaders — face constant challenges, Manning talked about the importance of “staying level” throughout, and “getting back to zero.”

“It’s not whether you will face adversity,” he said, “but when you will face adversity,” he said, adding that the success and character of leaders then comes in how they handle setbacks.

“Shoot,” he said, “On Sunday night (after son Peyton’s Denver Broncos lost big at the Super Bowl), I leaned over to [wife, Olivia] and whispered, ‘I hate football.’”

In a particularly pertinent comment near the close of his address, Manning talked about the importance of setting priorities — which just happens to be on the agenda of all checkoff program committee agendas this afternoon.

“My parents always taught me to keep my priorities in order,” he said. “Impress upon what’s most important and keep those things in order.”

Keeping Partnership in Mind

Kim Brackett Gen Session 2“Together we have been able to continue to grow respect and business for our heritage, while constantly improving the product we provide to consumer dinner tables worldwide,” CBB Vice Chairman Kim Brackett told 2014 Cattle Industry Convention participants during General Session II today.

“So as you meet in your checkoff committees this afternoon, I would ask that you keep that partnership in mind,” Brackett continued. “We are all pooling our checkoff resources and our time and energy to make decisions that are best for our industry as a whole.

“We have to set aside personal affiliations or pet projects and coordinate and compromise for that end result — a profitable beef industry for generations to come.”

Beef Ambassadors Gear Up For Social Media

20140205_161629Millennials: They’re the consumers of the future, a generation of 80 million that, as it moves through society, is changing all the rules – perhaps especially the way products are marketed. Recent research helps the beef industry learn what makes them tick. The millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 2000) is a priority for the beef industry and represents the consumers of tomorrow. But they already account for about a fourth of the U.S. population and about a third of all adults so they represent a big chunk of the current consumer population.

(Photo L to R: Rachael Wolters, TN; Sierra Jepsen, Ohio; Tori Summey, Ariz.; and Emma Morris, Calif.)

The National Beef Ambassador Program, funded in part by the beef checkoff, is helping to respond to how these millennials think about and purchase beef, as they are millennials themselves. Getting the news out about beef’s nutrition benefits and convenience is critical in fully convincing this generation to feel comfortable and confident in choosing beef.

Listen to my full interview with the National Beef Ambassador Team here.

Listen to the Ambassadors explain

So let’s help them reach their goal of 5,000 followers on Twitter!

Beef Demand Strong Despite Low Supply

imageBeef demand advanced 2 percent in 2013, despite tight supplies — thanks to the beef industry’s ability to provide a beef product that meets consumer demands for quality and value.

That was one of the messages delivered by Cattle-Fax economist Tod Kalous to the checkoff’s Joint Evaluation Advisory Committee this afternoon. As long as the industry maintains this value for consumers, beef demand can continue to grow, even with strong competition from other proteins available at lower prices.

For example, a survey in January 2014 indicate that consumers remain willing to pay more for beef — both steaks and ground beef — while their willingness to pay more for pork, even at its significantly lower price point, dropped from 2013 levels.

The Evaluation Committee uses this an other economic data to help measure success of checkoff programs, in light of industry and consumer trends.

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