Letter from the Chair
BUILT TO LAST
A lot of folks think cattle producers wear cowboy boots because they’re comfortable…or to protect our feet from all the muck we walk through…or maybe as some kind of fashion statement. But as chair of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, I know the truth of the matter. Producers wear boots to keep us from getting caught flat-footed.
Just when we thought we’d seen it all in 2020, 2021 came along and proved it, too, had surprises to throw our way. But through more pandemic, more fires and more drought, shortages of every variety, and the virtual breakdown of the world’s supply chain, the beef industry stayed tough. And not just tough…formidable.
As farmers and ranchers worked hard to provide a consistently top-notch, safe and delicious protein to the country, the producer and importer-led Beef Checkoff worked equally hard to keep that protein at the center of breakfast, lunch and dinner plates. Many Checkoff-funded programs were able to relaunch the in-person aspect of their events in 2021 — and they did so with fervor. Creative marketing efforts kept consumers engaged with more of the recipes they learned to crave during the height of the pandemic, and they returned again and again for beef-related content on social media as well.
The Checkoff also helped move our product into previously unknown territory when in August, exports of U.S.-produced beef topped a billion dollars for the first time in history. The Checkoff was out there leading the charge, actively promoting our beef in 80 countries worldwide. Beef also made its NASCAR debut with the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 race at Daytona, an event with massive international viewership. A result of the Checkoff’s many research, promotion and education initiatives was that beef demand climbed higher than ever.
At the same time, a petition drive was underway that would have triggered a referendum on the program’s very existence. It gave producers a chance to pause, though, and really look at their program, spend some time debating its merits and shortcomings and decide whether it still serves their needs. Turns out, the producers who assembled the Beef Checkoff knew what they were doing. By allowing scrutiny and honest discussion, they kept things healthy and evolving.
Beef has faced, and will continue to face challenges, but producers across the country, the men and women who volunteer their time on the CBB and the fine Checkoff contractors who tell beef’s story well, will continue to rise to the occasion with a product and program built to last.
2021 Cattlemen’s Beef Board Chair
American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture
Cattlemen's Beef Board
Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education
Kansas State University
Meat Import Council of America
North American Meat Institute
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative
National Institute for Animal Agriculture
United States Cattlemen’s Association
United States Meat Export Federation
New York Beef Council
Figures presented within this report are based on data compiled by individual contractors. Unless indicated otherwise, results are based on October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021 data.