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Frequently Asked Questions

Competition is fierce on the global stage, and the Beef Checkoff works diligently to encourage foreign countries to feature U.S. beef as their best protein choice. As a result of the Checkoff’s efforts, more consumers around the world want the high-quality products cattlemen and women produce – growing demand and increasing the value of U.S. beef.

Here are seven ways the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has recently worked to grow beef demand abroad, funded in part by the Beef Checkoff.

  1. Hong Kong Event Promotes American Barbecue and Celebrates Foodservice

The 14th edition of the Great American Texas Barbecue Hong Kong attracted 850 chefs, merchandisers, restaurant owners, distributors and U.S. suppliers, who turned out to sample American barbecue, reconnect with industry partners, and learn new menu ideas and concepts. Brisket, ribs and sausages were expertly cooked and smoked while new items such as the Steamship Round were featured.

  1. New Industry Resource Captures Culinary Evolution of the Caribbean

The Contemporary Caribbean Cuisine textbook promotes the incorporation of U.S. beef and pork into Caribbean cuisine, honoring local traditions and regional variations. Developed in collaboration with local food scholars and chefs, the textbook is a comprehensive resource for culinary schools and professionals, highlighting the diverse cultural influences shaping Caribbean dishes. The USMEF will promote this book across the region, offering support through seminars and chef-training programs to encourage the exploration of traditional and innovative U.S. beef recipes.

  1. Beef Nutrition Showcased at IRONMAN Event in Colombia

USMEF partnered with Colombian importers during an IRONMAN competition in Cartagena to promote the nutritional benefits and availability of high-quality U.S. beef. With a focus on health-conscious athletes and families, USMEF showcased U.S. beef’s versatility and superior taste, emphasizing its role in optimizing athletic performance. Through interactive demonstrations, medical insights and sampling opportunities, USMEF aimed to educate participants about the importance of incorporating protein-rich red meat into their diets.

  1. Butcher Certification Program Broadens U.S. Red Meat Utilization in China

USMEF collaborated with FAN Culinary Education in Shanghai to certify 56 meat cutters in China as official U.S. red meat butchers. FAN Culinary Education is endorsed by the World Association of Chefs’ Societies, and its founder, Clinton Zhu, is a celebrity chef with more than 20 years of experience in the red meat industry. This effort targeted professionals in the processing, retail and foodservice sectors, where they learned about the production practices and sustainability of the U.S. red meat industry. Also, attendees participated in hands-on cutting demonstrations and discussions and learned about the culinary potential of underutilized cuts, such as the beef chuck roll and beef tri-tip.

  1. USMEF Leads Buyers from China to Korea to Study Innovations in Prepared Food

As consumer demand for prepared foods expands in China, food processing companies want to expand operations to meet opportunities in this category. With inflation and rising input costs complicating such plans, USMEF has been working to show current buyers how U.S. beef can be utilized in prepared food products. Korea is considered a regional market leader in prepared foods, with category sales skyrocketing in recent years. USMEF led a team of 10 buyers from China to Korea, teaching them about product innovations in ingredients, cooking techniques and production. USMEF also led the team on a retail tour to demonstrate how prepared foods are merchandised and sold in Korea.

  1. Training Programs Build Awareness and Demand for U.S. Red Meat in Indonesia

To expand awareness and grow demand for U.S. beef in Indonesia, USMEF conducted training seminars in Jakarta for importers, retailers and foodservice operators. A retail training session was conducted for 40 participants from upscale retail butcher outlets, and the first-ever foodservice training session was conducted with an importer and several high-end foodservice operators. The fundamentals of U.S. red meat production, the U.S. grading system and high-quality attributes of grain-fed U.S. red meat were highlighted during the seminars, including cutting demonstrations and idea sharing about cut applications in regional cuisines. The foodservice seminar also featured a friendly cooking competition among 15 of the participants, using U.S. beef top blade.

  1. USMEF Video Promotes U.S. Red Meat Sustainability in International Markets

Sustainability is of growing importance in international markets, and USMEF is working to promote the industry’s commitment to sustainability as a differentiator for U.S. red meat products. USMEF shares the U.S. sustainability message with international trade and consumers through educational and promotional activities, including advertising and social media. For that effort, USMEF created a video illustrating how U.S. producers’ commitment to the land they work and the animals they raise translates to delicious meals at the table around the world. Watch the video.

Frequently Asked Questions

I was born into the livestock industry, and I’ve enjoyed working with the great people in this industry my whole life. Over the years, I’ve been able to develop and raise a personal herd of purebred cattle. I’ve also spent more than 40 years working with students, currently at Penn State University as the cow-calf beef extension specialist and as an Animal Science professor. I enjoy helping students better understand the many facets of beef production. Take it from me—it’s true when they say if you love what you’re doing, no day ever seems like work.

I’m also just one of many people who’ve chosen to volunteer and give back to this industry that’s provided the lifestyle we love. I’ve had the pleasure of serving several terms on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB), and I’m also a member of the Beef Quality Assurance program’s advisory group. Through the CBB, I’ve developed some great friendships and dedicated considerable time and effort to ensuring the prudent investment of Beef Checkoff dollars. One of those investments is the National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) that has taken place every five years since 1991.

NBQA helps us better understand what “quality” means to different beef industry sectors and the value of those quality attributes. The audit helps the beef industry discover what we should change to increase the value of our products. The Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Group develops the questions asked in each NBQA and ensures consistency with previous audits to permit a year-over-year data comparison. Then, we meet to review and discuss the audit results in great detail with our group and the research team that conducts the audit to develop consistent messaging.

My first thought after seeing the results of the first NBQA back in ‘91 was, “We have a lot of work to do.” And we did. But through a vigorous, industry-wide effort, we’ve tackled the challenges uncovered by that audit and the ones that followed. For example, the first NBQA raised the issue of injection-site lesions that consumers found concerning and distasteful. Just a few short years later, injection site lesions were almost nonexistent.

Over the years, as the NBQA advanced through its five-year cycle, the industry continued to measure and manage challenges with the same quick attention and turnaround. To get a better handle on consumer perceptions, the audit now includes a section with input from an in-person consumer survey. Implementing this survey gives us the opportunity to discuss the resulting data at producer meetings around the country.

The most recent NBQA took place in 2022. After looking at that audit’s results, I was pleased to see the industry’s continued progress toward the goals specified in our Long Range Plan. We’ve significantly improved efficiency across the entire supply chain, and that’s helped control our production costs, which benefits all consumers.

Additionally, it’s intriguing to see from this audit that consumers are far less concerned about food safety. They now simply expect our product to be safe without question – because we’ve taken the steps to ensure it is. We also found that more producers are adopting electronic ID for interstate movement of cattle, which should improve beef access to additional international markets. We’re also seeing more prime and choice carcasses available due to slower packing plant operations during the pandemic. As a result, more cattle remained in feedlots longer, gaining more weight and getting into better condition than they might have during a typical production year. Given today’s low cattle inventories, this situation is likely to change as cattle in the feedlot sector cycle out.

The NBQA remains one of the best ways for our industry to get a handle on current beef industry data and trends. Without the audit, we would lose the opportunity to manage beef quality because we’re not measuring its performance. As we’ve identified areas requiring improvement, beef industry stakeholders have come together and developed effective plans to address those issues. Without the continued checks and balances that the audit provides, beef would likely lose market share, something no beef producer wants. Our livelihoods depend on the NBQA.

With the perspective of time, it’s plain to see that investing Checkoff dollars in the NBQA has returned significant dividends to producers and the entire beef industry. You may know the adage, “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” That’s exactly what the first NBQA did back in 1991 and continues to do today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Positioning Beef as the Preferred Protein for College and High School Sports Teams

Did you know that 81 percent of consumers trust branded sponsorships at sporting events1? The Beef Checkoff aligns beef and athletics — especially in the highly populated Northeast region near New York City — through partnerships with college and high school sports teams. The Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI), a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff, spearheads this effort to reach athletes and fans alike with positive beef messaging.

Value of Athletic Partnerships

Integrating beef messaging into athletics is a “surround-sound approach,” meaning the partnership’s components — like on-site and in-game fan interaction, digital ads, social media content and student-athlete engagement — run consistently throughout the athletic season.
This approach provides a greater return on Beef Checkoff investments than a one-time event sponsorship. Reaching consumers multiple times throughout the athletic season keeps beef top of mind and extends trust and confidence in beef safety, nutrition and eating experience.
“The goal of these partnerships is to drive a greater understanding of beef by aligning with and capitalizing on the loyalty fans have for their sports teams,” said Kaitlyn Swope, NEBPI’s director of consumer affairs. “This is an opportunity for ‘always-on’ programming efforts, driving a greater return on producers’ investment.”

Penn State Athletics

Checkoff-funded sports sponsorships began in 2019 when NEBPI partnered with Penn State’s sports properties, supported by the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) and Colorado Beef Council (CBC.) This collaboration came to life during football season in various ways:

  • An in-person experience with a “beef booth” took place at Penn State’s Fan Fest before the university’s home football game versus Michigan. Beef was promoted to an in-stadium crowd of 110,669, not accounting for the avid fans who simply came to tailgate and enjoy the pre-game festivities. Thousands of tailgaters visited the beef booth to visit with Northeast beef producers, try a strip steak sample and get beef recipes, information and nutritional facts.
  • An enter-to-win social media campaign hosted on the Penn State Athletics official Facebook page encouraged Penn State fans to share beef content for the opportunity to win a beef tailgate prize pack. Social media posts promoting the campaign reached fans nearly 360,000 times and helped generate almost 800 entries.
  • Digital banner advertisements for Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. on reached fans nearly 290,000 times.
  • Weekly live readings during Penn State Football Coaches’ radio show promoted beef as part of a healthy diet.

The Penn State partnership continued into 2021 and 2022.

Seton Hall Athletics

In an ongoing effort to evolve and diversify the program by reaching new audiences, NEBPI began a partnership with Seton Hall athletics during the 2021-2022 season, with support from the IBIC. This sponsorship resulted in naming beef the “Preferred Protein of the Seton Hall Pirates,” and continued into the 2023 season as well.
Located in South Orange, New Jersey, Seton Hall University is less than 20 miles from the heart of New York City. This partnership allowed the Beef Checkoff to reach more than 800,000 Seton Hall Pirates fans throughout the New York market area.
Fans saw beef messaging in many ways throughout the Pirates’ athletic season. More than 145,000 fans attended Seton Hall’s home basketball games at the Prudential Center where they saw in-arena beef signage and had the chance to win a beef prize pack during the Pirates’ shuffle video board game. Additionally, this partnership included:

  • Radio callouts: beef received one 15-second in-game live mention during all Men’s Basketball
    Game day program messaging: The 40,000 programs distributed throughout the Men’s Basketball season contained beef messaging.
  • On-site interactive table display: NEBPI staff were on site and engaged with fans, students and alumni using an interactive table display during the Seton Hall versus Rutgers Men’s Basketball game.
  • Fan365 digital ads: These ads connected the NEBPI brand with Seton Hall Pirates fans and drove traffic to the website. Fans saw these ads more than 255,000 times.
  • Beef Up Your Homegate sweepstakes: The Seton Hall Athletics Facebook page encouraged fans to enter for a chance to win a beef prize kit. More than 18,500 fans entered to win.
  • Video series with Registered Dietitians: NEBPI aligned with the Pirates by creating a live, weekly custom video series that featured dietitians Beth Stark with NEBPI and Matt Abel with Seton Hall.
  • Athletic Director Newsletter ads: Beef messaging was included in the monthly Athletic Director Newsletter that was sent to more than 40,000 Pirate fans.
  • Seton Hall University Weekend: NEBPI staff engaged with fans, students and alumni during Seton Hall University Weekend.
  • Student athlete refueling station: NEBPI educated Seton Hall Pirate athletes about beef all season long through beef recipes and nutrition information.
    This year, NEBPI entered its first-year partnership with the University of Connecticut (UConn) Athletics for the 2023-2024 season. There are nearly 340,000 known UConn fans in the Northeast area. NEBPI will continue to evaluate potential opportunities with college athletics in the Northeast region to drive demand for beef.

High School Athletics

Beef promotion efforts also make an impact in high school athletics. During the 2022-2023 athletic season, NEBPI entered the high school athletics realm for the first time by partnering with the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), funded by the Montana Beef Council. This partnership continued into the 2023-2024 season.
PIAA reaches more than 350,000 students, coaches, athletic directors, trainers and fans in more than 1,400 schools in Pennsylvania. Elements of this partnership could be seen in print ads, educational flyers, monthly e-blasts, locker room posters, event signage, event commercials and on-site activations.
NEBPI saw positive results with the PIAA partnership and decided to expand the geographic reach of high school athletic partnerships. With funding from the South Dakota Beef Industry Council, NEBPI partnered with the District of Columbia State Athletic Association (DCSAA), which has 51 member high schools and 85,000 students. Additionally, with a Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement program grant, NEBPI worked with the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), which has 435 member high schools and 283,650 student-athletes.

Growing Consumer Trust

By aligning with athletics to share beef’s multiple advantages, the Beef Checkoff is encouraging student-athletes, coaches, fans, nutritionists and more to learn about beef’s role in a healthy, active lifestyle.
“I think beef producers should be excited about these program efforts because they provide a unique opportunity to reach consumers within the Northeast region’s targeted, highly populated metropolitan areas,” Swope said.

To learn more about NEBPI’s efforts to drive demand for beef in the Northeast visit here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cattle producers Andy Bishop of Kentucky, Ryan Moorhouse of Texas and Dr. Cheryl DeVuyst of Oklahoma are the new leaders of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB). This officer team is responsible for guiding the national Beef Checkoff throughout 2024.

Bishop, Moorhouse and DeVuyst were elected by their fellow Beef Board members during their Winter Meetings, held during the 2024 Cattle Industry Convention in Orlando, Florida. Bishop, the 2023 vice chair, will now serve as the CBB’s chair, while Moorhouse will transition from his role as the 2023 secretary-treasurer to become the 2024 vice chair. DeVuyst is the newest member of the officer team, taking on Moorhouse’s former responsibilities as secretary-treasurer.

2024 Chair Andy Bishop and his wife Meagan of Cox’s Creek, Kentucky are raising their four children on their registered Angus seed stock operation, Fairfield Farm. Bishop began his career teaching agriculture and moved into the field of agriculture lending in 2007. Bishop is the former chair of the Kentucky Beef Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Young Cattlemen’s Conference. Bishop also served as a member of the Long Range Planning Task Force and as president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) Young Producers Council and the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Young Producers group.

“The beef industry is in a unique situation as 2024 gets underway,” Bishop said. “Producers have been dealing with adverse weather and production cost conditions over the past few years, leading to herd liquidation. While things do seem to be improving, the Beef Checkoff must continue to be vigilant, developing the right programs and messaging to keep beef demand high. I’m excited to lead the CBB as we navigate the opportunities and challenges this year sends our way.”

Vice Chair Moorhouse grew up in North Central Texas on his family’s cow/calf and stocker operation. After graduating from Texas A & M University, Moorhouse went to work for Continental Grain Cattle Feeding (now Five Rivers). He currently serves as the general manager for Hartley Feeders, a Five Rivers Cattle Feeding operation. A resident of Amarillo, Texas, Moorhouse, his wife Colette and their two sons also operate a stocker operation back home on part of the family ranch.

Dr. Cheryl DeVuyst and her husband, Eric, own DeVuyst Ranch, a cow-calf and stocker operation. DeVuyst is also a professor of agricultural economics at Oklahoma State University and head of its Ag Econ department. DeVuyst is involved with numerous agricultural organizations, including Oklahoma CattleWomen, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Pawnee County CattleWomen, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and American National CattleWomen. She’s also a faculty advisor for the Oklahoma Collegiate CattleWomen and is a past board member of the Western Agricultural Economics Association.

“Our CBB members and staff are incredibly fortunate to have three strong beef industry leaders and advocates like Andy, Ryan and Cheryl at the helm of this organization,” said Greg Hanes, CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. “Each has unique experience and perspective to share, representing producers from across the U.S. As we begin our journey through 2024, I’m looking forward to working with this leadership team to launch programs and initiatives that drive beef demand and benefit producers nationwide.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Beef Checkoff Planning, Execution and Improvement

How effective are Checkoff-funded programs at increasing the demand for beef? Program evaluation is how the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) assesses program implementation, results, and areas of growth and improvement.

The Beef Checkoff’s program evaluation process consists of both internal and external reviews. Internally, Checkoff contractors establish program goals and identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are tracked throughout the fiscal year. These metrics help establish benchmarks that provide short- and long-term insights into a program’s performance and effectiveness. To complement the internal program, a third party conducts their own outside reviews to gain more in-depth knowledge on how state partners and industry stakeholders utilize Checkoff programs. These external reviews also enhance transparency and accountability of how Checkoff dollars are spent.

Checkoff Evaluation Committee

Now, who reviews program evaluation metrics? The Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Federation of State Beef Councils together appoint producers and importers to serve on the Beef Checkoff Evaluation Committee. Throughout the year, this 12-member committee reviews the internal, quarterly program updates that contractors submit. These quarterly reports outline program activities, target audiences, program changes, context to the outcomes, opportunities for growth, etc. Where possible, contractors also include higher-level metrics such as changes in perception, behaviors, sales data and economic impacts.

The Beef Checkoff Evaluation Committee also conducts annual external program reviews. To gain greater insights into program effectiveness and synergies, the committee reviews programs with similarities, such as producer- or consumer-facing audiences, promotional content or educational components.

Ensuring Efficient Investments

There are times when Beef Checkoff program goals and objectives are not met as planned. When this occurs, the Beef Checkoff Evaluation Committee does not view this negatively but rather as an opportunity to learn and adjust programs to ensure the effective use of Checkoff investments.

“There does need to be accountability for how Beef Checkoff funds are spent, but when program evaluation is viewed as an audit vs. a learning tool, it can have unintended consequences such as hampering program innovation or the willingness to try a new approach,” said Beka Wall, sr. director of evaluation and outreach as the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. “Whether a contractor’s goals are exceeded or not met, all information is considered knowledge that can be applied back to improving Beef Checkoff-funded programs.”

Overall, when contractors track metrics and KPIs that yield beneficial information, Checkoff spending becomes more and more efficient. “There is a well-known saying by Albert Einstein, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,’” Wall said. “If you don’t measure and evaluate programs, you can’t determine what is or is not working. Therefore, evaluation data is essential to providing insights that improve Beef Checkoff program efficiencies.”

Program Evaluation Reporting

Reporting program evaluation information is arguably one of the most important functions of the Checkoff Evaluation Committee. The committee presents program evaluation information back to beef producers and stakeholders in various ways, like the Annual Evaluation Report, The Drive, social media and so much more, so they can experience the wins and successes of their Beef Checkoff investment

Frequently Asked Questions

National Beef Quality Audit Helps the Beef Industry Measure, Analyze and Respond

Three decades ago, with consumer beef demand low, the beef industry needed the ability to remain competitive with other proteins. That desire is what initiated the landmark 1991 National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA). The audit provided an honest snapshot of the beef industry and the needed improvements. The 1991 NBQA was revolutionary because it changed the industry’s system management to act and think like product manufacturers and improve the desirability and conformity of beef to restore consumer demand.

Now conducted every five years, the Beef Checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Audits have significantly influenced the cattle industry and how producers raise cattle. The NBQA ultimately advises the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. BQA grows and changes with the audit data, and that data is disseminated to the producers who make production changes that address consumer needs and preferences. The NBQA helps ensure beef farmers and ranchers produce a product that consumers want to buy, improving bottom lines.

Audit Execution

To complete the NBQA, researchers and industry professionals execute three phases:

Phase 1: Individual Interviews – Face-to-face interviews with representatives of the different market sectors (packers, retailers, foodservice operators, further processors and government/trade organizations).

Phase 2: In-Plant Research – Visits to packing facilities to execute audits, starting from unloading to slaughter to the sales cooler, collecting information from the carcasses.

Phase 3: Strategy Session – A strategic workshop with researchers and industry leaders to evaluate the information, identify problem areas and set key industry objectives.

The NBQA is a labor-intensive, collaborative affair that includes professors, graduate students and industry professionals from 14 universities across the U.S. and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

2022 NBQA Results

Recently, the 2022 NBQA was released, which delivered many encouraging messages about beef’s improvement over the years while also identifying issues that need further attention.

“The 2022 NBQA showed how the beef industry is strong and resilient, with data clearly showing progress has been made in areas such as efficiency, the quality of beef produced, a lower incidence of carcass lesions and a better focus on food safety,” Trey Patterson, BQA Advisory Group chair said. “The data also shows that there are areas for improvement, such as minimizing bruising, better mobility scores in fed cattle and eliminating any foreign objects found in beef. The results also revealed the need for a continued focus on disease traceability and systems to improve animal health and well-being.”

Key Findings

  • When comparing 2016 and 2022 NBQAs, the largest improvement was overall increased efficiency across the beef supply chain.
  • Market sectors indicated their companies strive to increase their sustainability and work with the entire beef supply chain to do so.
  • Market segments no longer consider food safety as a purchasing criterion, but an expectation.
  • The entire industry felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, consumers chose beef, and the industry persevered to provide products.
  • The beef industry’s image improved within fed cattle market sectors.
  • Foreign materials continue to present a problem, but the industry is making strides to decrease incidence.
  • There was an increase in the frequency of Prime and Choice quality grades, while Select decreased drastically.
  • The industry is improving quality, but it is accompanied by an increase in carcass weight and fat thickness, as well as large increases in percentages of Yield Grade 4 and 5 carcasses.
  • Nearly 93% of transportation service providers interviewed were familiar with the Beef Quality Assurance Transportation (BQAT) program, and 91% are BQAT certified.
  • Nearly 92% of cattle received a mobility score of 1, with the animal walking easily and normally. That’s a decrease from 97% in 2016 and is attributed to larger cattle and longer transport times.

The NBQA remains an important measure for the beef industry as it strives to improve quality and consumer demand. All segments of beef production can utilize results from the 2022 NBQA to improve upon current management practices and implement innovative techniques.

View the full 2022 National Beef Quality Audit here. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Beef Quality Assurance Advances to Meet Producer and Consumer Needs

Most cattle producers agree that the Beef Quality Assurance Program (BQA) is just a part of good business. And not only is it good for business, but it’s also the right thing to do. The program’s support is apparent today, with approximately 85 percent of U.S. beef coming from BQA-certified producers.

In the late 1970s, the precursor to BQA, “Beef Safety Assurance,” originally emphasized targeting real and perceived beef safety issues. The program successfully implemented various initiatives, including educating stakeholders about the proper use of pharmaceutical products and the honoring of withdrawal times. In 1991, following the first Beef Checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Audit, the program expanded to improve cutability, palatability, bruising, dark cutters and so much more, changing the beef industry’s trajectory.

Now, thirty years later, BQA has grown far beyond its original expectations. BQA provides beef producers with the information and tools they need to incorporate safe and effective management practices. As a result, they can capture more value from their cattle and instill consumer confidence in the beef industry.

Since the BQA program constantly evolves and updates its curriculums, certifications are only valid for three years. This ensures producers are educated on the most up-to-date best practices around cattle handling, facility management, cattle transportation, good record keeping and protecting herd health.

If your BQA certification has expired, or you haven’t yet made the leap to get your certification, here are four reasons why getting your free BQA certification is the right choice:

1. BQA certification bolsters consumer confidence in beef.

When it comes to making a meal decision, many factors are top of mind for consumers. Of those consumers with questions about cattle production, 32 percent are concerned about animal welfare1. Becoming BQA certified demonstrates an industry-wide commitment to best management practices, increasing the program’s credibility in consumers’ eyes. The more robust BQA is, the more validity it has with consumers.

2. You can enhance herd profitability through better management.

BQA practices, like good record keeping and protecting herd health, can result in more profits for producers. When better-quality cows leave the farm and reach the marketplace, the producer, packer and consumer all benefit. When better quality beef reaches the supermarket, consumers are more confident in the beef they buy, increasing beef demand.

3. Collaborative efforts safeguard the public image of the beef industry.

Consumers can see beef producers’ collective efforts toward better beef safety and quality. Showing them how beef products are made with animal welfare and environmental stewardship at the forefront can alleviate their concerns and turn them into advocates.

4. Improve the sale of marketed beef cattle

Research shows a significant premium for calves and feeder cattle sold through video auction markets when BQA was mentioned in the lot description2.

With BQA, you can add value to your operation and help all beef consumers take pride in their beef purchases. For more information about the Beef Quality Assurance program and to get certified, visit BQA.ORG.

Frequently Asked Questions

Farmers, ranchers and veterinarians across the U.S. are finding their animal health practices under increasing scrutiny from consumers who are concerned about the impact of antibiotic practices in the cattle industry. Consumers continue to look for the “antibiotic-free” label when shopping for groceries.1 In fact, according to the most recent International Food Information Council (IFIC) Food & Health Survey, 25 percent of U.S. consumers say they regularly purchase products labeled “raised without antibiotics.” Yet, the same survey shows many consumers are concerned with animal welfare and environmental sustainability when buying foods.As industry stakeholders strive to produce the food consumers enjoy, the Beef Checkoff works to help bridge the gap, explaining to consumers how responsible antibiotic use positively affects sustainable, safe beef production and ensures the highest standards of animal care. The Beef Checkoff does this by facilitating educational and collaborative opportunities for beef producers and industry leaders to discuss antimicrobial stewardship and resistance.

One such opportunity was the 13th Annual National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) Antibiotics Symposium. Held November 7 – 9 in Atlanta, Georgia, this symposium gave animal health and human health experts the opportunity to share science‐based information and encourage an honest dialogue around a “One Health” solution. One Health recognizes human health is connected to both animal health and the environment.

At the symposium, attendees and participants received an industry report on the current state of antibiotic stewardship from producer to processor to grocer. Other presentations discussed the latest antimicrobial stewardship and resistance research, the multi-dimensional aspects of antibiotic stewardship and antimicrobial resistance (AMR,) regulatory updates, One Health collaborations and more. Speakers included:

  • Ken Opengart – Tyson Foods
  • Alex Rinkus – Health for Animals
  • Chris Gambino – The Breakthrough Institute
  • Terry Lehenbauer – University of California Davis
  • Collette Kaster – Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization
  • Andy Bishop – Cattlemen’s Beef Board
  • Chelsey Shivley – USDA APHIS
  • Catherine Rockwell – USDA FSIS
  • Susan Jennings – EPA
  • Karen Smith – Association of State & Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
  • Cameron Bess, PhD – Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority (BARDA)

Kristy Arnold headhsotThis event is unique because it engages audiences across multiple industries and focuses, with producers at the forefront of this event actively participating in conversations. One such producer was Cattlemen’s Beef Board member Kristy Arnold from Screven, Georgia. As a third-generation owner and operator of her cow/calf operation, Arnold knows firsthand the need for responsible antibiotic use on the ranch.

“We, as the beef industry, are contributors to AMR, and producers must take a seat at the table where the conversations are happening,” Arnold said. “We must identify the problem, find the cause and discover what works to fix it.”
Many producers already practice antibiotic stewardship by following Beef Quality Assurance guidelines, but there is still room to grow and take an active role in the antibiotic conversation. “At the symposium, after getting all of the information and hearing speakers talk about how important antibiotic stewardship is to human and public health, it made it more a ‘here and now’ realization for me,” Arnold said.

By bringing diverse audiences together, the symposium helped members of the animal agriculture industry build valuable relationships with influential stakeholders who can advocate for responsible antibiotic use on the farm and in the veterinary clinic. “Beef producers are the ‘boots on the ground’ and must be informed and motivated to act to enhance stewardship, protect the environment and health of our animals,” Arnold said.

To further encourage beef producers to continue the antibiotic conversation, NIAA has Checkoff-funded Producer Toolkits and resources needed to proactively engage with audiences on antibiotic practices and usage. The content is intended to generate ideas and help producers find their voices to tell their food and agriculture stories.

To download the toolkit and get more antibiotic informational tools, visit:

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

My husband Pat and I own and operate a cow-calf operation and produce diversified row crops near LaMonte, Missouri. However, as much as I enjoy farming, my true passion is education. I was a teacher for 32 years, working in pre-K and elementary classrooms and assisting students as a library media specialist and technology coordinator.

Now, as a member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Consumer Trust Committee, I’m finding new ways to enjoy “teachable moments” – spontaneous opportunities to answer questions and engage producers and consumers in conversations about the Beef Checkoff –and the programs it funds to drive beef demand. One program that particularly resonates with me as a former educator is managed by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.

AFBFA brings agriculture back into the classroom with its “On The Farm” STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program. This program shares the realities of farm life and food production through a variety of resources along with in-person teacher farm and ranch tours. STEM educators get an annual, immersive professional development experience that combines food and agriculture with science education. Then, they take what they’ve learned back to their students, exponentially broadening the program’s reach.

Why does this program matter? Because far fewer schoolchildren today are exposed to agriculture, they often don’t understand where their food comes from. I used to experience that every fall, when I’d bring corn stalks with ears attached to my classroom for a door display. Many students – even in an agriculture-rich state like Missouri – wanted to know how I “made that corn” because it didn’t look like the corn that was a part of last Sunday’s dinner. I was able to explain why field corn looks different from sweet corn and how beef producers harvest and use it. However, in urban areas, teachers usually don’t have an agricultural background, which is why sharing the farming experience with them is so important.

The twelfth and most recent On The Farm in-person tour took place in June, when 29 teachers and school administrators from across the country representing 70,000 students traveled to Colorado for an event hosted by the Colorado Beef Council. Participants visited with experts from across the cattle industry to better understand how to integrate animal agriculture into their STEM classrooms back home.

Day One included learning about elements of cattle feed. Attendees also began developing their own lesson plans centered around the involvement of STEM in the beef cattle life cycle. On Day Two, attendees toured Colorado State University’s AgNext research facility to learn about methane measurement and how researchers observe and research cannulated cows. In addition to the in-person tours, this program included two pre-tour webinars that led up to the multi-day, in-the-field, immersive experience, one post-tour webinar and a structured professional development community. Previous On The Farm STEM tours have taken place in Portland (OR), Oklahoma City, Los Angeles, Nashville, Minneapolis, Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Syracuse (NY), Kansas City and Boston, providing different agricultural perspectives from around the country.

AFBFA’s efforts go beyond the On The Farm tours. They work with teachers across the country to integrate Checkoff-funded elementary, middle and high school beef curriculums into their lesson plans in multiple ways, like offering free resources, virtual workshops and so much more. By offering these well-rounded, immersive programs, the Beef Checkoff is giving hundreds of educators the knowledge and tools to effectively introduce students to beef production and the care and commitment beef producers dedicate to their herds.

Connecting agriculture with science helps these STEM educators foster a new generation of consumers who are better informed about beef and beef production. That’s incredibly important in today’s world where so much misinformation about agriculture and beef production exists. As a producer and an educator, I want consumers to better understand agriculture’s remarkable impact on us all – and the Beef Checkoff is helping make that happen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Consumers continue to look for the “antibiotic-free” label when shopping for groceries. 1In fact, according to the most recent International Food Information Council (IFIC) Food & Health Survey, 25 percent of U.S. consumers say they regularly purchase products labeled “raised without antibiotics.” Yet, the same survey shows a significant number of consumers are concerned with animal welfare and environmental sustainability when buying foods. Also indicated in the survey was that protein is the number one nutrient consumers seek. 2

Cultivating Change

Acknowledging these somewhat conflicting facts, how does the beef industry explain to consumers how responsible antibiotic use positively affects sustainable, safe beef production and ensures the highest standards of animal care? That’s where the Beef Checkoff comes in.

The Beef Checkoff funds multiple programs and initiatives that communicate the responsible use of antibiotics in beef production. They also give beef producers the tools and resources needed to face the ever-changing landscape of responsible antibiotic use. One way the Beef Checkoff accomplishes this is by collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)

Cross-Industry Collaboration

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), on behalf of the Beef Checkoff, convenes animal agriculture experts and allies in collaborative settings. Here, they explore, discuss, learn and develop knowledge that fosters interdisciplinary cooperation for the improvement and continuous progress of animal agriculture.

“Collaboration across industries is increasingly important as issues arise, but it’s even more important to work together to prevent issues before they arise,” Cattlemen’s Beef Board Vice Chair Andy Bishop said. “Through collaboration, we can work together to achieve the same goals without overlapping or superseding our efforts.”

On the Farm Tours

Group of producers posing for cameraThe Beef Checkoff engages with CDC professionals by hosting farm tours and educational events. Recently, in partnership with the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association and Kentucky Pork Producers Association, 12 CDC doctors toured Kentucky ranches to see on-farm practices, animal preventative care and treatment protocols to understand the practical use of antimicrobials in animal agriculture. CDC professionals were able to see the University of Kentucky’s beef, swine, poultry and sheep units. They also toured Branch View Angus in Hustonville, Kentucky and learned how grains are processed at Burkmann Nutrition. The doctors walked away from the interactive event with new perspectives.

In their post-event surveys, attendees said they felt far more aware of the ways animal antibiotics may be used and who is involved in ensuring animals are getting the antibiotics they need—and not the antibiotics they don’t need. “I have learned a great deal about animal production that I feel has improved me as a scientist and a meat-consuming customer,” one attendee said.

Following the tour, 90 percent of attendees said they better understood how farmers, ranchers and veterinarians use antibiotics in their operations, and more than 80 percent said farmers, ranchers and veterinarians are responsible stewards of antibiotics. 3

“Visits like this allow us to not only tell our story but also give us the rare opportunity to meet face to face with medical professionals and scientists,” Bishop said. “The tour gave producers a voice and the chance to network with officials who make rules that will impact our operations. The ‘realness’ that this networking opportunity provides shows these officials that we work hard to provide a safe and nutritious product for consumers. For producers, it shows that the individuals making regulations are real people too, just like us.”

For Ryan Moorhouse, Cattlemen’s Beef Board secretary-treasurer, these types of events give the beef industry a steppingstone to connect with the regulation decision makers.

“By creating more transparency between the CDC officials and animal agriculture production, the voices who work for the government could advocate for us and dispel misinformation about what we do,” he said. “My hope is that we could work together to create regulations instead of having them handed down by folks who have no idea about antibiotic use in animal health management.”

Reflections and Takeaways

Farmers, ranchers, veterinarians and others in the animal agriculture industry used the CDC tour as an opportunity to tell their stories. Meanwhile, CDC professionals gained valuable access to ask questions and explain their research objectives.

“The benefit of these dialogues is incalculable,” Morgan Young, NIAA’s director of communications and outreach said. “The tour participants were incredibly gracious hosts and were open to telling their stories and engaging in a dialogue with people outside of animal agriculture. The CDC participants were very open to understanding what policies are in place and how we’re all working toward the same one-health goal.”

CDC attendees expressed their appreciation for the gracious tour hosts and the invaluable experience they enjoyed:

  • “It was so refreshing to get out and talk to people in the industry and better understand how our work impacts one another.”
  • “The visit was one of the most enjoyable work visits of my CDC career. I really appreciate the time taken to broaden (and correct, sometimes) my understanding of food animal production.”
  • “I have a renewed appreciation for everything that goes into food animal production and a different perspective of how we can work together in the future.”
  • “I learned so much from each stop on the itinerary and came away with a new appreciation for our food producers.”
  • “I have been so impressed by how digitalized the food animal production industries are and excited about the powerful trackback systems; how academic knowledge seamlessly transformed into the power of efficient production, improved animal wellness, and better disease prevention and forecasting; how different entities care about the antibiotic resistance issue and try their best to contribute to solve it.”

NIAA sees the future of responsible antibiotic use as shaped by consistent, effective communication of scientific collaboration, and the Beef Checkoff will support this effort throughout the current 2024 fiscal year. To learn more about the Checkoff’s industry information program and NIAA’s 2024 initiatives, visit,