This Week: What Has The Beef Checkoff Program's INDUSTRY INFORMATION Program Area Done For Me Lately?
INDUSTRY INFORMATION, as defined in the Beef Promotion & Research Act, means “information and programs that will lead to development of new markets, marketing strategies, increased efficiency, and activities to enhance the image of the cattle industry.” This includes programs such as issues management, public relations, and beef and veal quality assurance.
Striving For Quality – A preview of the 2011 National Beef Quality Audit was the highlight of the checkoff’s 22nd annual State Coordinators Conference in Denver last week. Keith Belk, Ph.D., and Jason Ahola, Ph.D., both of Colorado State University, as well as Dan Hale, Ph.D., from Texas A&M University, and John Paterson, Ph.D. and new executive director of the checkoff’s producer-education program, all presented key findings from the extensive report about the quality of cattle, animal care, and beef from U.S. herds, to coordinators of state Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) programs across the country. Key to discussion was the importance of compiling the results for the most efficient use by producers, veterinarians, packers, retailers, foodservice personnel, and all other stakeholders in the beef industry. The overarching goal is to leverage findings of the report – set for public release at the 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver next month – to provide ongoing education and training that helps maintain and improve the quality of beef and beef products. For more about checkoff-funded BQA programs, visit www.bqa.org or www.dbqa.org.
Presenting … the Beef Community – This month, the checkoff rolled out a Beef Community Presentation campaign to all Masters of Beef Advocacy graduates, on the tenet that grilling season is a great time to bring the “beef community” story to life for people in our local communities. The campaign encourages graduates to find opportunities to give presentations about the impact that beef has on their community and about the beef life cycle, and to serve as a platform to engage consumers in conversations about how beef is grown and raised. In addition to the presentation, the checkoff provided a “Tough Questions and Answer Guide” and an “Engagement Guide” full of tips and how-to advice to aid graduates in setting up presentations. See the associated Webinar here.
Protecting and Defending Beef – As part of ongoing work to protect and defend the image of beef – including extensive efforts responding to misinformation about lean finely textured beef and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) recently – the checkoff has secured a new Twitter handle @BeefFacts to help push out the facts about how beef is raised. Other efforts have included delivery of presentations about the checkoff’s issues and reputation management program to state beef organizations in Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Texas and Kansas. A workshop at the 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference will provide state beef council execs hands-on training in issues response, especially on social media, and crisis management. The checkoff also is updating a vulnerabilities assessment to help prioritize short-term crises in the industry; identify longer-term threats; and develop resources and tools that may be needed to address them down the road.
Engaging in Food Dialogues – On June 20-21, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), in which the checkoff is a partner, will host the second in the Food Dialogues series in Los Angeles, Calif. Four discussions will bring together entertainment movers and shakers, chefs, academics, large restaurant operators, journalists, local leaders, farmers and ranchers for an in-depth conversation about food, including beef. Visit the Food Dialogue: L.A. site to learn more about the live-stream panels and how you can participate through the tweetchats using the hashtag #FoodD. USFRA also hosted a “Superbug Twitterchat” on June 6. That conversation was based on Maryn McKenna’s recent Self Magazine article, The Dangerous Superbugs Hiding In Your Dinner. Masters of Beef Advocacy graduates were encouraged to engage in the conversation on Twitter by posting questions and providing answers to points raised in the discussion.