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Frequently Asked Questions

Dairy cattle are becoming a regular part of the mix in today’s beef marketing chain. With the evolving dairy climate, the practice of crossbreeding dairy cows with beef genetics is becoming common on dairies. As a result, between 2.5 million and 5 million beef x dairy cross calves will be born this year and likely to continue the same levels in 20231.

Dairy steers have been fed for beef production for years, so the trend is not significantly changing the number of calves and feeders in the feedyard, but what is changing is the meat quality. For dairy producers, they are seeing higher market value for those calves, and consumers both here and abroad get more Choice and Prime-graded beef products.

Dairy cattle still remain a significant contributor to the U.S. beef supply. In addition to dairy and beef crossbreds, dairy finished steers, cull cows and finished heifers all produce beef for the total supply. Here’s the percentage contribution of each animal type to the entire U.S. commercial beef supply2.

  • Finished dairy steers contribute 12.6 percent
  • Cull dairy cows contribute 7 percent
  • Finished dairy steers contribute 1.5 percent

Sine 2002, the percentage of dairy beef contribution to the total U.S. beef supply has ranged from 18 to 24 percent2.

Both the beef and dairy industries work together to create a successful beef marketplace. All dairy producers selling cattle and calves pay to the Beef Checkoff a $1-per-head. Their contribution helps further beef promotion, research, education and information, helping to drive demand for beef.

Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding the value of beef imports and why importers serve on the CBB.

Do you know how beef imports help meet domestic beef demand? The U.S. cattle industry is complex, and while many farmers and ranchers may understand beef and beef products are imported into the U.S., some may not understand the value added from the implementation. Beef imports play a significant role in the U.S. cattle industry because the U.S. has a high domestic need for lean trim used most often in ground beef.

American consumers love hamburgers, and most of those are consumed at fast food restaurants at relatively low or at least highly competitive prices. Since U.S. farmers and ranchers are producing more and more Prime- and Choice-graded beef, the value of the non-steak cuts, due to global demand, is higher than the value of hamburger. So rather than grinding those variety meats (with high value in foreign markets) and high value cuts into burgers, they are exported for a premium. This leaves the U.S. in need of lean trim to meet the domestic demand for ground beef.

The vast majority of beef that the U.S. imports is lean trim (90-plus percent lean.) The U.S. domestic supply is mainly from fed cattle. A byproduct of the retail beef cuts produced from fed cattle is 50 percent fat trimmings. These are mixed with lean trimmings to produce ground beef — hence the need for additional lean beef that is supplied by imports. At the same time, it increases the value of the fat trimmings.

Without this imported trim, the U.S. beef supply would run far short of the lean ground beef required to meet that consumer demand.

Overall, imports only contribute approximately 9.3% to the total U.S. beef supply1.

In addition to all producers selling cattle, importers also pay the Beef Checkoff with a $1-per-head on all live cattle, and equivalent on all beef and beef products imported into the U.S., adding approximately $7 million annually to the Beef Checkoff. Due to this contribution, importers volunteer to serve on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB). Importer members are nominated by importer associations and are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to serve the same non-paid, three-year terms as their producer counterparts. Of the 101 members serving on the CBB, importers make up seven percent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Both the beef and dairy industries work hand in hand to contribute to the beef supply, but there is one industry sector uniquely positioned between both – veal.


Primarily raised in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana, veal is a meat derived primarily from young Holstein bull calves. Bull calves are typically sold shortly after birth through local auction markets or purchased directly by others who will raise them for beef or veal. There are two primary sources of veal: bob veal and formula-fed veal

Bob veal consists of dairy bull calves sold and marketed shortly after birth, while formula-fed, also known as milk-fed or special-fed, are dairy bull calves that are raised for about six months and harvested at approximately 500 pounds or more. Formula-fed calves also receive grain and are ruminating animals at the time of harvest. In the marketplace today, 68 percent of veal is derived from formula-fed/grain-fed veal calves.

Today, there are approximately 400 veal farms in the U.S., and many are Amish or Mennonite families. Each farm family raises about 400 head per year. Out of all the formula-fed calves marketed each year, 95 percent come from Veal Quality Assurance (VQA)-certified farms. All VQA certifications are verified by a veterinarian.

  • ~ 400 veal farms in the U.S.
  • ~ 400 head per farm each year
  • 95% come from Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) certified farms

Ultimately, veal production supports the dairy industry by adding value to its calves and co-products.


The Beef Checkoff-funded VQA program is designed to ensure dairy beef animals raised and marketed specifically for veal receive a level of care that guarantees optimal health and welfare. In addition to being beneficial for veal producers, VQA helps grow consumer trust in veal production.

Seventy-four percent of consumers agree that food companies should be more transparent about their farming practices – this jumps to nearly 80 percent when asking Millennials alone1. This statistic shows the importance of giving consumers complete clarity on the production practices of veal farming.

The VQA program makes it possible for Beef Checkoff contractors to share credible and ethical stories when marketing veal to consumers.


The Beef Checkoff-funded National Veal Program is managed by Checkoff contractor North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and subcontractor New York Beef Council (NYBC). This team produces multiple Checkoff- funded promotional campaigns and develops educational pieces, both intended to increase consumers’ discovery and trust in veal. The consumer-facing brand, Veal – Discover Delicious, capitalizes on veal’s unique taste, value and versatility. Veal is distinctive in the meat space because a three-ounce serving of cooked, trimmed lean veal has just about 170 calories, making it one of the most nutrient-dense protein foods around.

Also, veal provides 29 percent of the recommended daily intake of zinc, 36 percent of niacin and 23 percent of vitamin B-12. In short, it provides a fat and calorie profile similar to chicken but with the nutrient density of beef2.

  • 29% of the recommended daily intake of zinc
  • 36% of the recommended daily intake of niacin
  • 23% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B-12

To spread the word about veal’s extraordinary nutrition package, Veal – Discover Delicious focuses on reaching new Millennial audiences with exciting promotional efforts. Millennial consumers today continue to have little awareness or knowledge of veal as a meat choice.

All promotional efforts address this knowledge gap with messaging that explains how to find and access veal while building confidence in the protein’s taste, nutrition and safety.


Forty-five percent of consumers report shopping online for groceries more now than before the pandemic3, and online shopping has remained popular into 2022. To reach the online shopping community, Veal – Discover Delicious partners with Chicory, a digital shopper marketing platform that turns recipes into a retail environment by reaching consumers through an online recipe network. While reading through online recipes, consumers can add veal directly to their virtual shopping carts with a quick click on advertisements with retailers like Instacart and Publix. Campaigns with Chicory last year have resulted in more than nine thousand veal orders. Additionally, Fresh Direct is another online retailer that Veal – Discover Delicious works with and has resulted in more than one thousand orders of veal last year. If consumers can’t find veal in their local store, Veal – Discover Delicious hosts online retailers on its own website where consumers can buy veal and have it delivered right to their door.

Another tactic Veal – Discover Delicious utilizes to effectively reach Millennial and younger audiences and first-time veal eaters is leveraging influencers.

These influencers highlight veal’s versatility and flavor in recipes while incorporating information about how veal is raised and the faces behind veal production. Influencers then share this messaging on their blogs and social media platforms. Many influencers also coordinate or participate in veal cooking classes. This is an educational opportunity for all audiences to learn more about veal and how to best prepare it. Many of these events have themes, like the best recipes for Valentine’s Day or a Kentucky Derby party.

The National Veal Program also hosts events like veal farm tours, both in-person and virtually. Beef industry stakeholders and supporters join these tours to learn about veal farming practices, discover more about the protein and get a chance to ask industry experts their questions directly. Farm tours are only one way the National Veal Program is creating veal advocates and growing consumer trust in veal production.

Over the summer, a new video campaign was launched to introduce consumers to modern veal farming. Featured on social media and Google advertisements, this video series engaged with consumers on what veal is, what veal calves eat and how they’re raised. To watch the videos, visit

Although small, veal plays a significant role in the U.S. beef and dairy industries, and the Beef Checkoff actively works to share the progressive message of veal’s protein strength, versatility, transparency and sustainability.

To learn more about the National Veal Program and access educational resources, visit:

Frequently Asked Questions

The Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) will invest approximately $38.5 million into programs of beef promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing, and producer communications during fiscal 2023, subject to USDA approval.

In action at the end of its September 7-8 meeting in Denver, Colorado, the Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC) approved Checkoff funding for a total of 13 “Authorization Requests” – or grant proposals – for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2023. The committee, which includes 10 producers from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and 10 producers from the Federation of State Beef Councils, also recommended full Cattlemen’s Beef Board approval of a budget amendment to reflect the split of funding between budget categories affected by their decisions.

Nine contractors and three subcontractors brought 14 Authorization Requests worth $48 million to the BPOC this week, nearly $9.5 million more than the funds available from the CBB budget.

“Producers are behind all the decisions that the BPOC makes during these meetings each September,” said CBB and BPOC Chair Norman Voyles, Jr. “We carefully consider every Authorization Request to determine how to use Checkoff dollars to drive beef demand and provide producers with the best possible return on their Checkoff investments.”

“As we expected, the proposals we reviewed this week were remarkably innovative, containing many thought-provoking ideas and concepts. Our challenge is balancing the budget while also distributing our limited amount of Checkoff dollars in a manner that we believe will best drive beef demand. I’d like to thank all our contractors and committee members for their hard work and careful consideration as we all work together to advance the entire beef industry.”

In the end, the BPOC approved proposals from 9 national beef organizations for funding through the FY23 Cattlemen’s Beef Board budget, as follows:

  • American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture – $900,000
  • Cattlemen’s Beef Board – $1,850,000
  • Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education – $450,000
  • Meat Import Council of America / Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative – $550,000
  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association – $25,720,000
  • National Institute for Animal Agriculture – $70,000
  • North American Meat Institute – $360,000
  • United States Cattlemen’s Association – $450,000
  • United States Meat Export Federation – $8,200,000

Broken out by budget component – as outlined by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 – the FY23 Plan of Work for the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board budget includes:

  • $9,400,000 for promotion programs, including beef and veal campaigns focusing on beef’s nutritional value, eating experience, convenience, and production.
  • $9,000,000 for research programs focusing on pre- and post-harvest beef safety, scientific affairs, nutrition, sustainability, product quality, culinary technical expertise, and consumer perceptions.
  • $7,470,000 for consumer information programs, including Northeast influencer outreach and public relations initiatives; national consumer public relations, including nutrition-influencer relations and work with primary- and secondary-school curriculum directors nationwide to get accurate information about the beef industry into classrooms of today’s youth. Additional initiatives include outreach and engagement with food, culinary, nutrition and health thought leaders; media and public relations efforts; and supply chain engagement.
  • $2,630,000 for industry information programs, including dissemination of accurate information about the beef industry to counter misinformation from anti-beef groups and others, as well as funding for Checkoff participation in the annual national industrywide symposium about antibiotic use. Additional efforts in this program area include beef advocacy training and issues/crisis management and response.
  • $8,200,000 for foreign marketing and education, focusing on 13 regions, representing more than 90 countries around the world.
  • $1,850,000 for producer communications, which includes investor outreach using national communications and direct communications to producers and importers about Checkoff results. Elements of this program include ongoing producer listening and analysis; industry collaboration and outreach; and continued development of a publishing strategy and platform and a state beef council content hub.

The full fiscal 2023 Cattlemen’s Beef Board budget is approximately $42.7 million. Separate from the Authorization Requests, other expenses funded include $270,000 for program evaluation; $585,000 for program development; $200,000 for Checkoff communications resources; $550,000 for USDA oversight; $210,000 for state services; $270,000 supporting services and litigation; and $2.1 million for CBB administration. The fiscal 2023 program budget represents a decrease of slightly less than 1% percent, or $350,800, from the $38.9 million FY22 budget.

For more information about the Beef Checkoff and its programs, including promotion, research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and safety, contact the Cattlemen’s Beef Board at 303-220-9890 or visit

Frequently Asked Questions

Larry Kendig of Osborne, Kansas, was recently appointed to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB) and will serve on the Consumer Trust committee! Kendig is a fourth-generation rancher working and living on the original homestead settled by his great grandfather in 1871. Learn more about Larry, his family operation and why he’s looking forward to serving on the CBB.

Frequently Asked Questions

U.S. beef exports greatly exceeded previous volume and value records in 2021, surpassing $10 billion for the first time, according to year-end data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Part of U.S. beef’s export success in 2021 can be attributed to growth in beef variety meat exports. Beef Checkoff dollars supported this growth, helping USMEF further promote value cuts and variety meats to end-user customers and consumers. Below are a few examples of USMEF’s work in international markets.

Alternative Cut Training in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland — USMEF Mexico Executive Chef German Navarrete traveled to Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to host master classes on U.S. beef preparation for restaurateurs, distributors and social media influencers. To demonstrate how the appeal of U.S. beef extends beyond middle meats, Navarrete promoted the nutrition, versatility and affordability of top blade, hangar steak and flank steak for use in ethnic cuisines.

Differentiating U.S. Beef in Colombian Butcher Shops — Audits are the first step in a new training program intended to help importers’ butcher shops sell more high-quality U.S. beef. A primary sales channel for imported beef is through importer-owned butcher shops, which USMEF has targeted for technical and marketing support. “Our market assessments show a wide disparity in how meat is handled, merchandised and sold at retail, especially in butcher shops,” says Don Mason, USMEF representative in Colombia. Training programs developed for butcher shops will improve food safety, product management and merchandising to increase U.S. beef sales.

Social Media Raises U.S. Beef Visibility in Hong Kong — With the surge in retail and online meat purchases in Hong Kong in mind, USMEF partnered with imported meat wholesaler and key opinion leader Meat Dee to raise the U.S. beef’s visibility, promote sales of a wider range of cuts to end users and provide foodservice partners with promotional support. “The pandemic accelerated demand for high-quality protein and online content about food, meat handling and preparation,” says Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific. “In providing this educational content to the trade through Meat Dee, sales of a wider range of U.S. beef cuts have been realized in both foodservice and retail channels.”

Workshops Promote Toy Donations and U.S. Beef Recipes in Mexico — In December, USMEF utilized its mobile grill and kitchen to introduce seasonal U.S. beef recipes and collect donated toys for vulnerable families in Mexico. The recipe and donation workshops were carried out with social media influencers, local media outlets and charitable organizations in Queretaro, Guadalajara and Monterrey.

Beijing Chefs Learn New Cuts and Applications — USMEF partnered with an importer/distributor in Northern China to introduce U.S. beef cuts and new cooking concepts from Southern China to its foodservice customers. Cuts that are excellent for grilling in yakiniku and Korean barbecue restaurants – flank, tri-tip, bone-in short ribs and rib finger – were demonstrated and prepared for sampling and a new concept dinner. “We are always working to expand the range of U.S. cuts. The event served as a brainstorming session for menu development, and the 40 chefs and restaurant owners expressed strong interest in the new cuts and new ideas,” said Ming Liang, USMEF marketing director in China.

U.S. Beef Variety Meat Exports Set New Monthly Value Record — A notable bright spot in 2021 has been the rebound in beef variety meat exports, with broad-based demand in a wider range of destinations. USMEF has introduced global consumers to local, ethnic dishes featuring U.S. beef variety meat items through promotions such as “Taco Tuesdays” in Mexico. U.S. beef variety meat exports set a new monthly value record in November at $116 million and topped $1 billion for the first time in 2021. Mexico is the top volume destination and Japan leads in value.