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2014 Summer Conference a Huge Success

samples2The 2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference wrapped up Saturday, Aug. 2, with checkoff leaders celebrating results of a Return on Investment study of checkoff programs and tremendous success with the checkoff’s improved committee process.

The revised committee structure keeps efforts focused directly upon growing beef demand by meeting goals of the Beef Industry Long Range Plan. It assures that the committee efforts are run and accomplished directly by beef producers and importers who sit on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Federation of State Beef Councils. Staff liaisons to the committees now are limited strictly to providing process information so as not to suggest which programs they believe committees should favor or not.

In the hallways after checkoff committee meetings, you could hear comments like “Everyone felt like they had an opportunity to share their ideas” and “That was the best committee meeting I’ve ever been to” or “The new scoring process really lets every committee member have his or her say, and we really got a lot accomplished….” The discussions were right on target with the purpose of the committee restructure, so leadership was pleased, too.

Meanwhile, the Return on Investment (ROI) study results announced by Cornell University’s Dr. Harry Kaiser on Thursday were uplifting, as they demonstrated that that every dollar invested into programs funded by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board budget returns $11.20 to the industry.  If you haven’t had a chance to review this comprehensive research, be sure to check it out on www.MyBeefCheckoff.com. It’s definitely worth your time!

Well, another summer conference wrapped up. This one is on the books. Check back for the Operating Committee actions on FY15 proposals for checkoff funding at its meeting in Denver Sept. 16-17. In the meantime, always remember that BEEF is definitely WHAT’S FOR DINNER!

Export Market Important to U.S. Producers

Global Growth post 2aThe checkoff’s Global Growth Committee helps develop strategies and recommendations for checkoff funding of programs aimed at educating consumers and promoting U.S. beef in the global marketplace.

About 96 percent of the global population lives outside the U.S., so U.S. beef exports are critical to the long-term sustainability of the American beef industry. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is the sole beef organization that has implemented foreign-marketing programs for the checkoff to date, and the only one proposing programs for fiscal 2015.

Under review by the Global Growth committee today and tomorrow is a proposal that addresses targeted market access and marketing of U.S. beef in the following countries or regions: ASEAN; Caribbean; Central America/Dominican Republic; China/Hong Kong; Europe; Japan; Korea; Mexico; the Middle East; Russia/Greater Russian Region; South America; and Taiwan.

Listen to the introduction from USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng, at BEEF EXPORTS.

See the complete USMEF proposal at GLOBAL GROWTH.

Domestic Consumer Preference Committee

DCP blogThe checkoff’s Domestic Consumer Preference Committee helps develop and recommend beef checkoff programs in the domestic market that are aligned with the consumer beef demand drivers of convenience, safety, value, nutrition and health, and taste. The goal of the committee is to help increase consumer demand for beef by addressing these specific consumer demands through its associated subcommittees.

In its meeting today, this committee is reviewing a total of 10 proposals for checkoff funding from potential contractors, including the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture; American National CattleWomen; Meat Import Council of America; National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; National Livestock Producers Association; and the North American Meat Association.

Learn more about this committee and its subcommittees, and view the proposals it is reviewing today at DOMESTIC CONSUMER PREFERENCE.

Safeguarding the Beef Industry’s Image

Beef's Image blogThe Beef’s Image Committee develops strategies for beef checkoff-funded programs to strengthen the image of beef and the beef industry. Its goal is aligned to the Beef Industry Long Range Plan strategy to increase consumers’ preference for beef by strengthening the image of the beef industry and telling the true story of how beef is raised, from pasture to plate.

In Denver for the 2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference today, this committee is reviewing a total of 10 proposals from beef organizations seeking funding in fiscal 2015 toward this committee’s goal. Contractors presenting to this committee today include: American National CattleWomen; Meat Import Council of America; National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; National Livestock Producers Association; and the North American Meat Association.

Learn more about this committee and review proposals that it is considering today at BEEF’S IMAGE.

Freedom to Operate Committee

FTO for blogCheckoff program committees are in session this afternoon at the 2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference. The committees, made up entirely of beef producers and importers who pay the checkoff, are hearing presentations from contractors proposing to manage national checkoff programs in fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1, 2014.

The Freedom to Operate Committee, pictured here, is chaired by CBB Member Kent Pruismann of Iowa, with Federation of State Beef Councils Director Steve Hanson of Nebraska serving as vice chair.  This committee is charged with developing strategies for beef checkoff programs that protect and enhance beef producers’ freedom to operate and align with the strategies of the Beef Industry Long Range Plan.

On this committee’s agenda today is review of four program proposals, including three from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and one from the North American Meat Association. See the proposals and more about this committee at Freedom to Operate.


Each Checkoff Dollar Returns $11.20 to Investors

rectangular graphicIn the most comprehensive study ever rendered about the Return on Investment (ROI) of beef checkoff assessments, Dr. Harry Kaiser of Cornell University concludes that each dollar invested in the Beef Checkoff Program between 2006 and 2013 returned about $11.20 to the beef industry.

“The news for beef checkoff investors couldn’t be better,” said Kaiser, the Gellert Family professor of applied economics and management at Cornell and director of the Cornell Commodity Promotion Research Program, who is sharing study results this week at the 2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver.

“If I was investing my hard-earned dollars into the checkoff, as beef producers and importers are, I would be proud to do so, based on the findings of this study,” Kaiser said. “Most of us probably wish we could get that kind of return on all of our expenditures!”

At the bottom line, the increase in beef demand due to CBB-funded marketing efforts resulted in higher prices for beef producers and importers, which means higher net revenue than they would have experienced without those checkoff programs.

California producer Ted Greidanus, chairman of the checkoff’s Joint Evaluation Committee, which commissioned the ROI study, said the results help in providing accountability to all beef producers and importers who pay the beef checkoff assessment.

“As chairman of the Evaluation Committee, I know that “Dr. Kaiser’s research methods are well-respected, so we are very confident about the analysis and very pleased with the results,” Greidanus said. “And this tells us that the benefits of all CBB programs are 11.2 times more valuable than their costs… As a cattleman who pays into the program, it’s invigorating to know that my investment is making a difference.”

Get details about the report at THIS LINK.

Summer Conference Underway in Denver

Dr. Harry Kaiser portraitThe 2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference got underway in Denver this afternoon, in the midst of heavy rainstorms in the Rocky Mountains.

The first checkoff meeting of the conference was the Joint Evaluation Committee, which started its meeting at 3 p.m. to discuss the status of evaluations of checkoff-funded programs.

On the agenda was a report from Dr. Harry Kaiser of Cornell University, who previewed results of the checkoff’s most comprehensive Return on Investment (ROI) study ever  completed for the checkoff. Kaiser will unveil the full report in a presentation to all conference-goers at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow, July 31, so stay tuned for a report of the complete results here!

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.

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.


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.

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