Producers Talk About the Checkoff

Don Schiefelbein, Minnesota

Don Schiefelbein is a fourth generation seed stock producer from Kimball, Minn., who raises registered Angus and Simmental Angus seedstock cattle. He works alongside his eight brothers and parents on their family operation.

The beef industry’s long-range planning process is a discussion that involves every segment of the beef industry, from retailers to purveyors and from packers to cow-calf producers. “The long range planning process allows us to take a finite amount of money and strategically fund programs that provide the biggest return on investment," Don says.

But he believes the basis for every checkoff program is market research. “Our market-research program both helps us create a product that fits consumer needs and assists in marketing efforts based on that research.

“If we don’t keep our pulse on what’s happening in the consumer world, our opportunity for our messaging to get lost is very high. The better you understand to whom you’re promoting your product, the more accurately you can develop and share the information and, in turn, the higher the potential return on investment. So the more we can learn about our consuming public, the better off we will be, not only in creating a product that fits their needs, but also marketing to them.”

Watch DonClick here for a video from Don’s farm.

Mark Jagels, Nebraska

Mark Jagels is the fourth generation on his farm that was homesteaded in 1883. He grows mainly irrigated white corn and yellow corn, and soybeans, and has a cow/calf operation and feeds cattle at a couple of custom yards.

U.S. beef export values remain at record levels, making a major contribution to U.S. market prices. Those exports have not happened on their own - beef producers themselves have made strategic investments of beef checkoff dollars for nearly three decades now. As past chairman of checkoff contractor U.S. Meat Export Federation, Jagels saw firsthand how checkoff dollars have aided in continued growth in exports of U.S. beef and says that’s one reason his family is optimistic about the future of their farm.

"The growth in beef exports has been tremendous. This is really where we’re making the money...on what we’re exporting to other countries. You look at the added value that we’re getting per animal slaughtered of over $275 per animal, we’re exporting just a little bit over 13 percent of our total beef production here in the United States."

And, Jagels notes that research by Dr. Harry Kaiser of Cornell University shows an $11.20 return for every beef checkoff dollar invested by producers like him.

"The beef checkoff is a vital tool that we have as producers that we pay that is invested in, programs not only domestic but international to help move our product. According to Doctor Kaiser’s research, foreign beef demand would be 6.4 percent lower without the checkoff."

Watch MarkClick here for a video from Jagels’ farm.

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