Behind the Beef Promotion Operating Committee
INSIDE THE HIGH-STAKES DECISION-MAKING OF THE BEEF PROMOTION OPERATING COMMITTEE
In the complex world of the Beef Checkoff, one valid question commonly arises: “Who is responsible for recommending Beef Checkoff funding to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board?” The answer is the Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC.)
So, What is the BPOC?
This committee includes 10 producers and importers selected by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB), and 10 producers selected by the Federation of State Beef Councils. This body
is responsible for recommending funding allocations for
the annual national Beef Checkoff budget, which must be approved by the full Cattlemen’s Beef Board and USDA, for developing plans and programs in the areas of promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications. During the two-day funding meetings, a program is only approved for Checkoff funding if two-thirds of the committee members vote to accept it. This means a program must have recognized value from both the CBB and the Federation of State Beef Councils to earn the consensus needed for funding.
Beef Checkoff Program Committees
Members of the BPOC review program recommendations from the Beef Checkoff Program Committees, which consist of beef producers and importers who volunteer their time to the CBB and the Federation of State Beef Councils, helping guide Beef Checkoff initiatives. These members, who come from diverse sectors of the beef industry – cow/calf, feeder, stocker, veal, dairy and imports – are responsible for identifying priorities and making recommendations to the BPOC.
The September Decision
Every September, the BPOC meets in Denver, Colorado, to discuss, debate and ultimately allocate more than $30 million for eligible beef industry programs within the Beef Checkoff.
In the months leading up to this meeting, the BPOC members gather feedback on all program recommendations. Calls for proposals from Checkoff contractors typically go out in May
of each year. Before contractors submit these proposals, known as Authorization Requests (ARs), they’ve already been reviewed and edited by multiple industry professionals and organizations. In July, contractors present their preliminary ARs to beef producers and importers on Beef Checkoff Program Committees, asking for honest feedback and comments on their ideas and projects. Following those July presentations, each contractor adjusts their projects based on the feedback to best ensure they meet the needs and wants of beef producers who pay into the Checkoff. That same feedback is gathered and handed over to the BPOC for the September meeting.
Dividing the Checkoff dollars between promotion, research and education projects is often accompanied by lively debate, difficult decisions, and unfortunately, even cuts to great programs. The members weigh each proposal, ultimately focusing on what they believe will best support the beef industry now and in the future.
The Beef Checkoff program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States may retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.