2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Meeting Report:
Hank Maxey, Chairman
Jon Ferguson, Vice Chairman
The Joint Producer Communications Committee convened from noon to 3:10 p.m. on Friday, July 27, 2012. Members reviewed and approved minutes from their meeting of Feb. 3, 2012 before discussing the status of current producer communications programs and approving a proposal for programming in Fiscal 2013.
Meeting and program highlights reported included:
- A presentation of the results of the latest Producer Attitude Survey. Key findings indicate that: producer support for the Beef Checkoff Program remains at the historical high of 74 percent reached earlier in the year; eight out of 10 producers say the beef checkoff has helped contribute to a positive trend in beef demand; seven out of 10 producers say the beef checkoff contributes to the profitability of their operations, is there for them in a crisis, and represents their interests; and two in three beef producers believe the checkoff is well managed.
- MyBeefCheckoff.com continues to draw a growing number of visitors, with an estimated 80,000 unique visitors in FY12 viewing more than 272,000 pages.
- In FY12, the producer communications program is on track to deliver more than 73,000 pieces of electronic mail to media, for distribution to producers nationwide. In addition to daily contact with ag editors and broadcasters, these efforts will produce an estimated 7,200 news placements in media producers turn to for information about their industry.
- MyBeefCheckoff.com newsletters had an average open rate of 61 percent and a click-through rate of nearly 18 percent for the 220,000-plus items it will deliver in FY12 – both measures are many times higher than industry averages.
- The national producer communications program has produced and distributed nearly 260,000 copies of a series of new multi-purpose brochures, “Get To Know Your Checkoff,” through 22 state beef councils and livestock markets. The eight editions of this brochure have focused on key checkoff efforts with more detail than can be delivered through other media.
Producer Communications staff presented the committee with a proposed Authorization Request for Fiscal 2013 that reduces the producer-communications budget from $1.81 million in FY12 to $1.75 million in FY13 to account for reductions in the overall checkoff budget and make the associated program cuts before submitting the request to the Operating Committee.
Discussion by committee members focused on the need to deliver information about the results of checkoff producers and importers who fund it and on the increased efficiency of the producer communications efforts in recent years. The Joint Producer Communications Committee voted unanimously to recommend the $1.75 million Authorization Request for approval by the Beef Promotion Operating Committee in September.
2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Meeting Materials:
- Joint Producer Communications Committee July 27, 2012 Meeting AGENDA
- Feb. 3, 2012 Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting MINUTES
- Producer Communications FY13 Authorization Request – CBB
2012 Cattle Industry Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Report:
Feb. 3, 2012
Hank Maxey, Jr., Chairman
Jon Ferguson, Vice Chairman
Meeting was chaired by Vice Chairman Jon Ferguson, Federation, in the absence of committee Chairman Hank Maxey, CBB.
A highly effective partnership between the checkoff’s producer communications and Beef Quality Assurance program, expansion of a regional radio campaign, and steady growth in use of the MyBeefCheckoff.com website were among the program results discussed by members of the Joint Producer Communications Committee this week.
At its meeting during the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention, the committee reviewed results from the producer communications’ paid-media, earned-media, direct-communications and other tactics that make up its FY2012 Plan of Work.
As mapped out by checkoff staff, the “editorial plan” for FY12 producer communications is delivering messages whose topics are target checkoff results by categories on a quarterly basis. First-quarter messages, for example, centered on a Silver Anniversary celebration of the accomplishments of the Beef Checkoff Program during its first 25 years. That included a special-edition 2011 Beef Board Annual Report, which was distributed to producers at the convention and is further being distributed by state beef councils, at national trade shows, online, and by request.
Issues management and foreign marketing are sharing the producer communications spotlight during the second quarter of the fiscal year, followed by Beef Quality Assurance in the third quarter, and results of checkoff-funded product development efforts both domestically and internationally will be featured in communications to producers during the final quarter of FY2012.
Committee members also discussed a staff report on the results of the latest Producer Attitude Survey, which indicated that producer-communications efforts are making a difference in producers’ knowledge and understanding of their checkoff program. Among other key findings, the survey results indicated that: Four in five producers say the checkoff influences beef demand and is of value, even in a weak economy; three in four producers say the checkoff contributes to the profitability of their operations, is there for them in a crisis, and represents their interests; and two in three producers believe the checkoff is well-managed.
Committee members reviewed the priorities that they set a year ago and decided that they remained valid and need not be changed. Those specify the following goals for producer communications:
- Highlight checkoff efforts on nutrition, safety, research, promotion and international marketing; increase understanding of how checkoff works and the requirement that all producers comply.
- While continuing to inform producers who are knowledgeable about the checkoff, target less-informed groups of beef, dairy and veal producers and increase understanding of how checkoff works; explain how the checkoff benefits them and their role as stakeholders through a variety of delivery methods.
2012 Cattle Industry Convention - Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Materials:
2011 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Committee Presentations:
- Producer Communications Update (ppt) (pdf)
- Producer Attitude Survey Results (ppt) (pdf)
- Measuring Results (ppt) (pdf)
- FY 2012 Producer Communications Plan of Work (ppt) (pdf)
2011 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Committee Aug. 3, 2011 Committee AGENDA
2011 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – FY2012 Producer Communications Plan of Work
2011 Cattle Industry Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Minutes for Feb. 4, 2011.
2011 Cattle Industry Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee Presentations:
2011 Cattle Industry Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Report:
Feb. 4, 2011
Wesley Grau, Chair
Jon Ferguson, Vice Chair
The Joint Producer Communications Committee (JPCC) reviewed its program of work and the latest producer attitude survey during its meeting in Denver Feb. 4.
The committee learned that the beef checkoff producer communications paid media campaign continues to help producers get to know their checkoff under the theme “My beef checkoff can.” Ads feature producer testimonials that continue on MyBeefCheckoff.com with copy, audio and video. Paid media impressions increased from 2.8 million impressions (circulation times frequency) in FY08 to more than 25 million impressions in FY10 despite smaller paid media budgets. And continuous testing of the ads with readers found that ‘stopping power,’ ‘read’ and ‘remember’ scores are above average for the industry so far in FY11. In addition, several state beef councils are rolling out these national ads, adding local testimonials through use of resources available in the QSBC Toolkit on MyBeefCheckoff.com. Starting in FY11, a paid and earned media effort is focusing on producers in the Northeast and Southeast, through multimedia buys to add radio (ads, teasers, sponsorships), print, online and interviews. Another print and online media effort focuses on Western producers. Finally, four 30-second radio commercials, five 30-second scripts and a recorded public service announcement are available to help states provide checkoff information to producers.
Direct communications efforts include more than 130,000 copies of a new multi-purpose brochure, “Get To Know Your Checkoff,” which have been produced and distributed through 22 state beef councils and directly to livestock markets. The three editions of the brochure have focused on the checkoff’s efforts in foreign marketing, Beef Quality Assurance, and working with influencers.
The checkoff website MyBeefCheckoff.com continues to draw a growing number of visitors, with more than 61,000 unique visitors in FY10, viewing 244,637 pages. The site also had an average open rate of 69 percent and an average click-through rate of 30 percent for the 148,600 newsletters and other materials it has delivered during FY10 – many times higher than industry averages. Leadership and media open/click through rates are higher. In addition, 11 states are taking advantage of state-specific versions of national newsletters, with state mastheads and optional local content. At the same time, an ‘RSS Feed’ from MyBeefCheckoff.com updates national checkoff news daily on the websites of 12 participating state beef councils.
In FY10, producer communications delivered more than 125 mailings to media. Along with daily contact with the editors and broadcasters, these mailings produced more than 4,900 news placements in the media producers turn to for information about the industry. Two video news release packages were developed and distributed and segments aired on more than 600 stations nationwide. Recent checkoff articles and audio files are posted to a Web page on MyBeefCheckoff.com to help media and producers read, see and hear “what others are saying about the checkoff.”
Producers’ attitudes toward the beef checkoff program are quite favorable and have improved noticeably in the past year. Currently about three in four approve of the program, a five-point positive shift in the past 12 months. There only has been one other time in checkoff history, where approval levels have increased by at least this amount in a one-year period. The last time approval levels were this high was in 1994. Producers have consistently tended to rate the checkoff positively. In the past five years, approval levels have ranged between 68 percent and the current level of 74 percent.
January 2011 Producer Attitude Survey Results Presentation (pdf)
2011 Cattle Industry Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Agenda
2010 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Minutes
2010 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Presentations: (use pdf versions for quicker downloads)
- Producer Communications Program Update (ppt) (pdf)
- June 2010 Producer Attitude Survey Results (ppt) (pdf)
- Measuring Results (ppt) (pdf)
2010 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Report:
July 31, 2010
The Producer Communications Committee met for about four hours during the 2010 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, led by Committee Chairman Wesley Grau and Vice Chair Hank Maxey, Jr. After some housecleaning items, the committee heard program reports from staff, capsulizing efforts in the areas of trade media, direct communications, and paid media, including coordination of the national program with state producer communications efforts. NCBA staff representative Janel Fisher updated the committee about what NCBA Member and Federation Services provides and how it coordinates with CBB’s producer communications team — on things such as annual reports, auction-market cards, customized ads, and auction-market posters.
Committee staff liaison Lynn Heinze provided details about tracking surveys that illustrate effectiveness of print and online producer communications programs. In addition, he presented results of three recent surveys: the Producer Attitude Survey; a survey of Qualified State Beef Council executives regarding producer communications; and a survey of agricultural media receiving beef checkoff materials. CBB Director of Evaluation Polly Ruhland provided an overview of the external evaluation of the Producer Communications program, as completed this spring by Demeter Communications. Results of the survey, Ruhland said, were very positive but also offered a few suggestions for making the program even more effective.
State Beef Council executive directors from Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan provided updates about producer communications SHARE programs currently under way in their states, thanks to co-funding from the national producer communications Authorization Request. Heinze presented suggested changes to the SHARE program for Fiscal 2011, mapping out regional programs in areas where state beef councils may not be able to afford even to participate in cost charing because of budgetary constraints.
Heinze also presented the FY2011 Producer Communications Authorization Request, pointing out differences with the approach to tactics, integrating paid media efforts with earned media opportunities and value-add options. After some discussion, the committee voted unanimously to recommend approval of the FY2011 AR by the Operating Committee, which will review it in September 2010.
2010 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Committee – Final Outside Evaluation of 2009 Producer Communications AR – Executive Summary
2010 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Committee - Final Ouside Evaluation of 2009 Producer Communications AR – Full Report
2010 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Committee Agenda
2010 Cattle Industry Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Minutes
2010 Cattle Industry Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee meeting report
2010 Cattle Industry Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee Agenda
Joint Producer Communications Committee Conference Call Meeting Minutes
2009 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Minutes
2009 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Producer Communications Presentations:
2009 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Committee Report:
July 17, 2009
Richard Nielson, Chair
Chuck Adami, Vice Chair
The Joint Producer Communications Committee (JPCC) current program of work is designed to build trust in how the checkoff is managed and ownership in the program by producers who pay the checkoff. Members this week learned that the current program, despite lower spending, has continued to deliver more messages more consistently to more producers than in previous years. This has been the result of a process that both challenges media partners to dig a little deeper in order to provide the best advertising options and also enlists them as partners in the mission of helping producers get to know their checkoff.
JPCC members heard how direct communication with checkoff leaders and producers is integrated with producer-targeted media efforts and paid media to deliver consistent messages year around. An additional development during this fiscal year is the growth in the number of services aimed at helping state beef councils communicate with their producers. These services have included a paid ad resource kit, customized state electronic newsletters and a recently announced news feeder that brings current national news right to a state Website daily. Most of these services are provided at little or no cost to QSBCs.
JPCC members also were updated on seven state projects, conducted with the help of national funding, which were aimed at finding new and innovative ways to communicate with producers. This SHARE program is planned for continuation in FY10, with some modifications that should encourage states with little or no producer communications budgets to benefit from the program.
A reduced producer communications budget over the past three years has resulted in cutting the mid-year producer attitude survey; however, ‘value-added’ research with many of our media partners has provided measures of advertising effectiveness, reach and impact. In addition, surveys of livestock auction market owners/operators, qualified state beef councils and the media have provided insight into how to better serve these important audiences. Most important: Lessons learned from this research is already being used to improve our working relationships with these important groups.
For FY2010, the Joint Producer Communications Committee recommends its draft authorization request in the amount of $1.8 million to continue the new effort it launched just a year ago. While this budget is about the same as the current year, the committee has seen a 46 percent cut in our overall budget since 2006 and a 41 percent reduction in the cost of program implementation during that same period – in short, we believe we have already cut our budget significantly while increasing dramatically the impact of programs. Two out of three producers tell us in producer attitude surveys that they want more information about their checkoff. The current rate of engagement by producers in our programs – by visiting MyBeefCheckoff.com, subscribing to MyBeefCheckoff newsletters, by participating in other communications efforts – shows us they mean it and tells us this is necessary and important work that we need to continue.
2009 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Agenda
2009 Cattle Industry Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Minutes
2009 Cattle Industry Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Report:
Members of the Joint Producer Communications Committee included in their FY09 authorization request a program to fund innovative new state producer communication projects. State proposals were offered through an online process and then were evaluated online by members of the JPCC. Finally, during the meeting here in Phoenix, JPCC members voted to fund six of these projects, which include activities in16 states. The goal of the program was to pilot test effective ideas that can later be rolled out in other states.
The JPCC also reviewed the latest producer attitude survey, which found support of the checkoff down slightly from a year ago. Current economic pressures were likely the reason fewer producers supported the checkoff. Still, nearly seven out of ten said they supported the checkoff.
In addition, the survey found that producers recognize the program has some key strengths and plays an important role in the cattle business. A large majority, 83 percent, felt the checkoff program has helped contribute to a positive trend in consumer demand for beef. About the same number believed the program had value in weak economic conditions and were confident the checkoff is on their side during a crisis. When it comes to their own operation, producers largely said the program had benefited them. Approximately seven in ten thought that over the years the beef checkoff helped contribute to the profitability of their operations. Management of the checkoff was viewed favorably as well. Nearly two-thirds, 64 percent, believed the checkoff program is being managed well.
The survey also continued to show that approval is tied to how informed producers are about the program. JPCC’s challenge, therefore, continues to be helping producers get to know their program by providing many different information choices. A copy of the research report is available online.
The JPCC also reviewed current programs and budgets. Its new producer advertising strategy is aimed at helping producers get to know their checkoff. Many of you have likely seen the new ads with the headline: “Producers can’t be everywhere, but my checkoff can.” These ads feature producers talking about the checkoff and are linked to our new MyBeefCheckoff.com Web site where these same producers have a chance to tell the rest of their stories. This year’s plan also includes more information through informational Web sites and electronic newsletters, now the fastest growing ways for producers to keep in touch with news about their industry.
Finally, the committee renewed its commitment to two priorities and three critical success factors as it looks ahead to the next fiscal year. Our priorities are:
Highlight checkoff efforts on nutrition, safety, research, promotion, issues management activities, and international marketing; increase understanding of how checkoff works.
ii. While continuing to inform producers who are knowledgeable about the checkoff, target less informed groups of beef, dairy and veal producers and increase understanding of how the checkoff works; explain how the checkoff benefits them and their role as stakeholders through a variety of delivery methods.
And we believe to be successful, we need to demonstrate results of Beef Checkoff Program so that: (1) producers and importers trust that the beef checkoff is being managed well, and they feel a sense of ownership in the beef checkoff; (2) auction-market operators and producer organizations are motivated to serve as conduits of checkoff information; and (3) CBB and State Beef Councils are working together seamlessly to deliver consistent, cohesive communications to checkoff investors and stakeholders.
2009 Cattle Industry Convention – Jan. 30, 2009 Joint Producer Communications Committee Agenda
2008 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, July 2008 – Committee Minutes
2008 Cattle Industry Summer Conference - Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Report:
July 18, 2008
Members of the Joint Producer Communications Committee had a full agenda today as they reviewed results of the last eight months of checkoff efforts in the areas of paid media, earned media, direct communications, the Beefmobile, and the Producer Attitude Survey, and developed recommendations for programming in those same areas in Fiscal 2009.
This marks the first year of review since the Cattlemen’s Beef Board brought management of producer communications back in-house rather than contracting it out, and it has been a year of deep evaluation, said Joint Producer Communications Committee Chairman Richard Nielson, a producer from Utah. The staff, he explained, has really spent the last eight months evaluating every detail of the program, measuring results of current programs and looking for ways to improve efficiency of checkoff investments as we move forward.
Lynn Heinze, executive director of communications for the Beef Board, updated the committee on paid-media efforts in the area of producer communications, noting that a “Request for Proposal” was issued to identify the best media agency to lead beef checkoff paid media efforts. In February, he said, a review committee made up of representatives of the committee — including Beef Board and Federation of State Beef Councils representatives — listened to presentations of three finalist agencies and unanimously selected McCormick Company for the task. Lynn introduced McCormick representatives Suzi Sutton-Vermeulen and Kathy McCormick, who assisted in reporting on the checkoff-funded print, radio and satellite television ads and other media placed during the agency’s first few months on the job. Lynn and Suzi also introduced committee members to the checkoff’s new producer communications Web site, www.MyBeefCheckoff.com, including a brief demonstration of the new interactive site. You are encouraged to go and check it out if you’re interested in finding out how your checkoff dollars are being invested — or if you have any questions or concerns about the same.
Lynn further explained the staff’s recent in-depth review of the current “Beef Power” producer communications campaign, including extensive producer interviews, and how that review laid groundwork for development of a Fiscal Year 2009 campaign, which also has been tested in the field with producers, State Beef Council executives, and Beef Board members. The new campaign, later recommended for approval by the committee, revolves around the theme: “Producers Can’t be Everywhere … but My Beef Checkoff Can Be.”
CBB Communications Manager Diane Henderson updated committee members about direct communication efforts, followed by CBB Trade Media Manager Melissa Slagle’s update of earned/trade media programs and Beefmobile Program Director Tracey Orsburn’s update about the travels of the Beefmobile during recent months. Barb Wilkinson, Executive Director of Federation Relations and Services at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, also provided an update of recent producer communications efforts funded by the Federation of State Beef Councils. While this committee does not review funding or programs paid for through the Federation of State Beef Councils, the committee and CBB staff work closely with the Federation staff to maintain a coordinated state/national program in producer communications to maximize efficiency of checkoff investments.
Lynn Heinze presented the committee with an integrated producer communications proposal, or “Authorization Request” for checkoff funding in Fiscal Year 2009, centered around getting information about checkoff investments and the results of those investments to producers nationwide. The committee discussed the importance of getting checkoff investment messages to producers from all parts of the country and all segments of the industry, as it is an obligation of the Beef Board to inform producers about how their money is invested. After lengthy discussion, the committee voted 12-1, with three absent, to recommend approval of the CBB proposal, as presented. That recommendation next heads to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee for review in September.
2008 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, July 2008 – Committee Agenda
2008 Cattle Industry Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Report:
Feb. 8, 2008
The Joint Producer Communications Committee met today in Reno, as part of the 2008 Cattle Industry Convention. The meeting opened with self introductions from committee members and a reminder from Committee Chairman Richard Nielson, a producer from Utah, of the committee’s purpose: to support the objectives of the Joint Industry and Producer Services group by working to communicate to cattle, dairy and veal proudcers and importers about the efforts of the Beef Checkoff Program and, importantly, the results of those efforts.
Chairman Nielson gave committee and audience members an update on the transition of producer communications program management from a contractor (the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association) to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board staff. Since the beginning of Fiscal 2008, he said, the Beef Board hired two new producer communications staff members — Lynn Heinze as executive director of communications and Melissa Slagle as trade media manager. While NCBA no longer manages any of the national producer communications programming, Nielson said, the communications staff at CBB and the state communications services staff at NCBA are coordinating efforts very closely, so as to present a coordinated message to producers and to maximize efficiency of communications efforts.
Committee members received program updates regarding the Beefmobile, CBB Direct Communications, Dairy and Earned Media Relations, State Communications Services, and national paid media, and reviewed 2008 creative for paid media. In addition, Beef Board staff presented key results of the latest Producer Attitude Survey, completed in January 2008. The survey included random telephone interviews with 1,225 cattle producers in the U.S. and has a margin of error of + 2.8%.
Data from the semi-annual survey indicated an increase in producer support of the checkoff — from 68% in July 2007 to 72% in January 2008. Similarly, the percentage of producers who consider themselves “informed” about their checkoff program increased from 68% to 71% during the same period. Still, however, the number of producers who could accurately name a specific program that the checkoff funds, beyond advertising, was weak, so committee members discussed opportunities for reaching those more uninformed producers about the results of their checkoff investments. Among distribution channels discussed and encouraged were paid print, radio and television media, as well as increased electronic messages (email and Web site), as well as consideration for messages that could be included in materials that producers already receive personally, such as checks for sales of cattle. The five areas of checkoff investment identified by producers as the most important activities of the checkoff included: advertising beef to consumers; educating consumers that beef is safe; increasing consumer demand for beef; promoting U.S. beef exports; and educating consumers that beef is nutritious.
The Joint Producer Communications Committee spent time during this meeting fine-tuning its priorities, based on current planning factors and results of the Producer Attitude Survey and approved the following wording for its priorities for Fiscal 2009, which begins Oct. 1, 2008:
- Highlight checkoff efforts on nutrition, safety, research, promotion, issues management, demographic changes worldwide; increase understanding of how checkoff works.
- Target less informed groups of beef, dairy and veal producers and increase understanding of how checkoff works; explain how the checkoff benefits them and their role as stakeholders through a variety of delivery methods.
Chairman Nielson reminded the committee that the Beef Board issued a Request for Proposals to identify the marketing agency to support the checkoff’s paid media efforts in producer communications in Fiscal 2009. He explained that six agencies have submitted initial proposals and that the CBB staff would narrow that list to three, at which point it would like to have a task force from the Producer Communications Committee assigned to review the finalists via a presentation format on Feb. 25, 2008. Discussion ended with the appointment of the following members to help with the review: Chairman Richard Nielson, CBB, Utah; Vice Chairman Chuck Adami, Federation, Wisconsin; Virginia Davis, CBB, Indiana; Mike Dee, Federation, Alabama; Richard Wortham, Texas Beef Council Executive Director; and CBB staff representatives Tom Ramey, Lynn Heinze, Diane Henderson and Melissa Slagle.
2008 Cattle Industry Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting AgendaJuly 19, 2007
2007 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Report:
Today’s meeting of the checkoff’s Joint Producer Communications Committee was certainly a busy one, where the real challenge boiled down to an age-old dilemma: The checkoff budget for national producer communications is simply not big enough to fund all of the projects the committee wants to see accomplished in Fiscal 2008.
Before hearing proposals for the coming fiscal year, however, the committee had a variety of business on its plate, beginning with updates on current-year checkoff-funded producer communications programs. Those updates covered programs including importer communications, Beefmobiles, CBB communications, trade media relations, paid media, state communications services, and dairy producer outreach.
Dan Hoffman of Aspen Media & Market Research also presented the committee with a report of the topline findings of the just-completed checkoff-funded Producer Attitude Survey. Overall, Hoffman told committee members, about seven in 10 producers continue to support their Beef Checkoff Program, though the vast majority of them are unable to name specific checkoff programs beyond advertising. That leaves this committee with some big challenges as they move into Fiscal 2008, because increasing producers’ knowledge about how their checkoff dollars are invested is at the top of the list of goals for this group.
Before diving into review of the three Authorization Requests presented here, the committee invited CBB Chairman Ken Stielow, CBB Vice Chairman and Executive Committee Chairman Dave Bateman and Beef Board CEO Tom Ramey to provide an explanation of recent changes to the structure of national checkoff producer communications. The three CBB representatives explained that recent discussions between CBB and Federation of State Beef Councils leadership recommended returning central management of national producer communications programming back over to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, rather than contracting the bulk of it out to other national beef-industry organizations. The change in structure is supported by CBB leadership, NCBA’s Federation of State Beef Councils, and the leadership of the Joint Producer Communications Committee, they noted.
In recent years, most of those programs have been managed for the checkoff program by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Federation Division. Under the new structure, that NCBA division will manage the State Services role, providing producer communications assistance to State Beef Councils with funding from those states. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board then will take over management of the bulk of remaining national producer communications efforts, including paid media, dairy producer outreach, beef trade media relations, importer communications, the producer attitude survey and Beef Board Communications – with all funding coming from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board budget.
With an understanding of those structural changes in place, the Producer Communications Committee today heard proposals from the CBB for all of the above national programs ($1,975,500), in addition to two proposals from the National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA) – one for continued funding of the Beefmobiles program, which entails two “Wranglers” driving beef-emblazoned vans across the country and giving presentations and information about the checkoff to producers selling their cattle through livestock auction markets ($295,000) and, finally, a new NLPA proposal for a “Peer-to-Peer Producer Outreach” program ($305,000). That Peer-to-Peer program proposes conveying information to producers about their checkoff investments via four virtual town-hall meetings with 100 to 150 producers each participating via an AgTeleProgram. These producers would listen via telephone to a penal about the checkoff program and have opportunities to ask questions during the meeting. Producers would be polled about their learnings and recordings of the meetings would be disseminated to a wide audience of producers, auction market owners, and to agricultural media representatives. The proposal further calls for creation of point-of-contact materials, distribution of e-newsletters to participants via beefboardmeeting.com and beefboard.org and distribution of “Proud U.S. Beef Producer” stickers for all participants and via the Beefmobile, as the two programs would intertwine to help increase producer knowledge of their checkoff.
The total approved budget for national producer communications in Fiscal 2008 is $2.27 million, which the requests for funding exceeded by more than $300,000, thus the committee’s dilemma. After lengthy discussion about all three Authorization Requests - some of it heated - it became apparent that a majority of members of the committee seemed to support all three of the proposals, at least to some extent. In the end, the committee approved, by tight votes, a recommendation to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee to approve the CBB request at a reduced $1,775,500 by removing $200,000 from the paid-media proposal; approve the Beefmobiles request at the proposed $295,000; and approve the Peer-to-Peer proposal at $200,000, cutting the number of town-hall meetings from four to two. That recommendation will be reviewed by the Operating Committee at its meeting in September.
This committee did have a lot of business to cover during its six-and-a-half-hour meeting, but there was a lightened few moments when they enjoyed a surprise visit from renowned cowboy poet Baxter Black. Baxter has volunteered his time and voice to the checkoff’s producer communications radio ads during the last couple of years and has been a staunch and vocal supporter of the checkoff. He was at the 2007 Cattle Industry Conference to provide entertainment at the Beef Board’s banquet later in the evening but stopped by to talk to the committee that leads the producer communications efforts. Committee members recognized Baxter and thanked him for his generous donations, and he thanked them in return for allowing him participate in the way he could. A match made in … well, the Joint Producer Communications Committee.
2007 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, July 2007 – Committee Agenda
2007 Cattle Industry Annual Convention Feb 2007 – Committee Minutes
2007 Cattle Industry Annual Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Report:
Feb. 2, 2007
For the Joint Producer Communications Committee, Long Range Plan priorities addressed are across-the-board for all checkoff-funded goals, as this committee helps direct communications to producers about all checkoff programs. As a result, the main focus of priority setting by this committee is on delivery methods.
Fiscal 2008 Priorities Set:
1. Highlight checkoff efforts on nutrition, safety, promotion, demographic changes worldwide; increase understanding of how checkoff works.2. Target less informed groups of beef, dairy and veal producers and increase understanding of how checkoff works; explain how the checkoff benefits them and their role as stakeholders through a variety of delivery methods.Discussion Points/Directives from Committee to Checkoff Staff
- Need to see how to get more information to more producers. The BQA program is a good example of the importance of state/national coordination to make this happen. Committee directed staff to investigate possibilities of targeting less-informed producers through new/expanded delivery methods, including television such as RFD-TV.
- The Beefmobile has positive feedback from 77 percent of producers who are familiar with it. With that in mind, committee members suggested identifying more ‘one-on-one’ communications with producers, such as that accomplished through the Beefmobile.
- Committee set priorities that illustrating a ‘backing off’ of structure messages vs. program results to producers.
Other important committee business/actions:
- Committee received program updates from checkoff staff managing producer communications including paid media, importer communications, dairy producer communications, CBB communications, the Beefmobile, earned media, and state services.
- Committee received a report of the results of the just-completed Producer Attitude Survey funded through the CBB and Federation, and a brief report and comparison of the USDA/Gallup survey completed in November 2006.
- CBB Director of Evaluation Rich Otley presented a Beef Demand Index report, and reviewed producer communications highlights from the 2006 year-end evaluation.
2007 Cattle Industry Annual Convention – Committee Agenda
2006 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Report:
July 12, 2006
We had a terrific meeting this afternoon, and certainly packed a tremendous amount into four and a half hours.
Under the direction of Committee Chair Sugie Sartwelle, a producer from Texas, and Vice Chair Richard Nielson, a cattleman from Utah, we started the day with some housekeeping items and a litigation update from Cattlemen’s Beef Board Chief Operating Officer Monte Reese.
Monte explained the survey that USDA is administering of at least 8,000 cattle producers this fall, as part of an agreement with the Livetock Marketing Association to conclude that organizations legal challenges of the checkoff program. In general, he said, the various litigation that has surrounded the checkoff program for so many years seems near an end. “We might not even have to have a litigation update at your next meeting,” Monte told the committee.
Following that update, we heard program updates regarding importer communications, the Beefmobile, CBB communications, dairy producer communications, state communications services, trade media relations, and paid media.
Topline Producer Attitude Survey Results from the latest checkoff-funded survey completed in June were presented to the committee, noting continued strong support for the checkoff program. And while producers report that the majority of them consider themselves informed about the checkoff, their ability to name specific checkoff programs beyond promotion remains limited.
Polly Ruhland, who manages the producer communications programs under checkoff contract by NCBA, reported the Producer Attitude Survey results, as well as results of recent producer focus groups that sought to identify the ways that cattlemen want to hear about how their checkoff dollars are being invested. Polly said those results will be taken into account as specific producer communications tactics are employed during the coming fiscal year.
After reviewing the producer communications priorities that they identified at their meeting in February 2006, committee members approved recommendations to fund producer communications proposals, or “Authorization Requests,” presented by the Meat Importers Council of America, the National Livestock Producers Association, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Those recommendations will be submitted to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee for review at its meeting in September.
2006 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Committee Meeting Agenda
2006 Cattle Industry Convention - Committee Meeting Minutes
2006 Cattle Industry Convention – Joint Producer Communications Committee Meeting Report:
Feb. 3, 2006
DENVER, Feb. 3, 2006 – Chaired by Cattlemen’s Beef Board member Sugie Sartwelle, a cattlewoman from Texas, and vice-chaired by Beef Board member Richard Nielson, a Utah cattleman, the Joint Producer Communications Committee had a very productive meeting today.
After some housekeeping, the joint committee of Beef Board and Federation of State Beef Council representatives heard producer communications updates in the areas of importer communications, paid media, CBB communications, state communications services, the Beefmobile, producer outreach, dairy and industry organization communications, and trade media relations.
Polly Ruhland gave committee members a report of the topline results from the latest Producer Attitude Survey completed in January 2006, which indicated 73 percent producer support for the Beef Checkoff Program – consistent with the levels of six months and a year ago. The survey did indicate, however, that producer knowledge about specific checkoff programs has increased somewhat during recent months. About 70 percent of the 1,225 beef, dairy and veal producers surveyed were able to name at least one checkoff program into which the Beef Board invests, up nearly 10 points from six months ago. In that survey, 66 percent of producers also said that they believe the checkoff allows representation of producers’ viewpoints – up significantly from 52 percent a year ago.
CBB Director of Evaluation Rich Otley presented the Joint Producer Communications Committee with an overview of results of the evaluation of fiscal 2005 checkoff programs, noting that all producer communications programs met their stated objectives. Rich also provided a beef demand update.
Finally,committee vice chairman led extensive conversation about the proposed Beef Industry Long Range Plan before the committee set priorities for checkoff programs in producer communications for Fiscal 2007. The committee prioritized efforts for next year as follows:
1) Highlight checkoff efforts on nutrition, safety, promotion, demographic changes worldwide; increase understanding of how checkoff works.
2) Target less informed groups of beef, dairy and veal producers; increase understanding of how checkoff works; explain how the checkoff benefits them and their role as stakeholders.
3) Differentiate different roles of CBB, state beef councils, and NCBA’s policy division.
• Increase visibility of CBB
• Increase visibility of Federation of State Beef Councils
2006 Cattle Industry Summer Conference – Committee Meeting Minutes