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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to the Beef Checkoff executing numerous efforts and initiatives to reach consumers and drive demand for beef, there are multiple programs and resources exclusively for beef producers. This producer-led program strives to educate and engage the beef industry by providing tools, resources and other information that helps producers feel confident about the Beef Checkoff’s work and how it’s managed.

Producer Resources

The Beef Checkoff invests in programs to help beef producers grow and strengthen their operations.

  • Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) – BQA provides beef producers information and resources on proper animal care and handling practices. BQA guidelines are designed to help producers improve their operational management and boost consumers’ confidence in the beef industry with scientifically proven techniques. A BQA certification takes only an estimated two to three hours to complete online.
  • Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) – The VQA program provides veal farmers and industry leaders with the educational resources to develop and follow a comprehensive herd health plan and calf care program dedicated to producing consistent and exceptional quality veal. It also helps identify potential problem areas and solutions to ensure that every veal farmer meets the obligations and responsibilities inherent in raising animals for food.
  • Masters Of Beef Advocacy (MBA) – MBA is the go-to program for training and resources to be a strong advocate for the beef community. This free, self-guided online course provides all members of the beef community the tools and resources to become a beef advocate and answer tough questions about beef and raising cattle.

Beef Research Information

The Beef Checkoff utilizes research programs to help build demand for beef and provide producers with cutting-edge exploration and data-driven results on everything from product quality, beef safety, human nutrition, beef sustainability and market research. See Beef Checkoff research programs at: BeefResearch.org

Beef Industry Long Range Plan

Beef industry leaders come together every five years to develop the Beef Industry Long Range Plan (LRP). The LRP Task Force establishes this industry-wide roadmap to provide strategic direction and ensure the U.S. beef industry’s long-term prosperity. The LRP is an industry-wide strategic planning process and is a separate entity from the Beef Checkoff. However, the LRP is instrumental in helping guide Beef Checkoff structure and funding decisions. Every strategy, objective and tactic contractors execute on behalf of the Beef Checkoff ties back to the LRP in one form or another. See the 2021 – 2025 industry objectives and initiatives at: BeefLongRangePlan.com

Finance, Compliance, Governing Information and Transparency

The Beef Checkoff shares everything from fiscal budgets, financial information, annual reports and more to ensure the efficient and effective use of Beef Checkoff dollars. See all the resources at: DrivingDemandForBeef.com/Resources

The Beef Checkoff also informs producers on what their dollar investment is doing to drive demand for beef. The Drive publishing platform is multi-faceted, giving producers multiple options to learn about Beef Checkoff-funded projects. Whether producers like to read or watch – a complimentary version of The Drive is available in multiple forms.

Monthly e-Newsletter and quarterly print newsletter

The Drive in Five Video Series: Sign up for text updates by texting DRIVE to 1-888-351-6435. Watch the newest episode.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Farmers, ranchers and veterinarians across the U.S. are finding their animal health practices under increasing pressure from consumers as they strive to produce the food consumers enjoy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farm and ranch families constitute less than two percent of the U.S. population, and most consumers are at least three generations removed from any farm-based ancestors. With America’s increasing disconnect and generational shift away from agriculture, many consumers are confused or unsure about the impact of antibiotic practices in the cattle industry.

To help bridge the gap, the Beef Checkoff facilitates educational and collaborative opportunities for beef producers and industry leaders to discuss antimicrobial stewardship and resistance. A recent example of such an opportunity was the 11th Annual Antibiotic Symposium held in Kansas City, Missouri, on November 2-4. More than 100 participants, including human and animal health professionals, beef producers and industry leaders, engaged in a collective dialogue about continuous improvement for antimicrobial stewardship. This event was hosted by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.

Accomplishments

This year’s symposium theme was One Health, One Voice: Leveraging Future Opportunities to Enhance Collaboration. Participants received updates on the latest antimicrobial stewardship research, resistance and alternatives within human, animal and environmental health. Get the full schedule of events.

To kick off the event, Ted McKinney, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, delivered his keynote speech on what it takes to operationalize collaboration. McKinney is heavily involved within the industry, holding positions as governmental affairs lead in the agribusiness sector, director of agriculture in Indiana and most recently Undersecretary of Agriculture at USDA. With all this experience, McKinney knows the value of collaboration and how to integrate it into a successful plan.

Symposium participants worked together during interactive breakout sessions to enhance current classroom curriculum (high school through university), communication strategy and plans, how to put knowledge into action, and ongoing and upcoming research in this space.

One of the event’s main objectives was to continue enhancing collaboration between animal, environmental and human health professionals. To strengthen those relationships, representatives from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of State participated in a panel discussion on the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System.

All activities and conversations during the symposium are meant to grow and encourage a positive change in responsible antibiotic use – not only for the agricultural industry but also for human and environmental spaces.

Collaboration Across Industries

This event is unique because it engages audiences across multiple industries and focuses. Key audience members include:

  • Veterinarians, physicians and scientists actively involved in antimicrobial stewardship and resistance research, education and application – on the farm, in the lab and around the boardroom
  • Key influencers who reach shoppers, regulators and students
  • Key regulatory leaders, both state and federal
  • Leading farmers, ranchers and practicing veterinarians
  • Human health leaders, like family physicians, dietitians and nurses
  • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Infectious Disease Society of America and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society

By bringing these diverse audiences together, the symposium helps 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.

“As the old saying goes, ‘If you’re not at the table, you’re on the table,'” said J.J. Jones, executive director for NIAA. “Ensuring that beef farmers’ and ranchers’ voices, expertise and insights are shared during the Symposium is key to preserving their ability to use antibiotics responsibly. In turn, this also ensures animal welfare, food safety and a sustainable beef supply.”

Producers were right at the forefront at this event, actively participating in conversations.

“If beef farmers and ranchers didn’t participate at the symposium, their voices could not always be heard, and they may not like what has been decided on their behalf,” Jones said. “Telling your story – your side of the story – is not a new idea. But it has become more widely adopted in the agriculture community in the last few years.”

To further encourage beef producers to continue the antibiotic conversation, NIAA developed a Checkoff-funded Producer Toolkit with the resources they need to proactively engage with audiences on antibiotic practices and usage. The content is intended to generate ideas and assist producers in finding their voice to tell their food and agriculture stories.

To download the toolkit and get more antibiotic informational tools, visit: https://www.animalagriculture.org/resources/beef-producer-abx-toolkit/

Frequently Asked Questions

In 1991, the Beef Checkoff funded the first National Beef Quality Audit to help identify beef safety issues and establish benchmarks for success. Thirty years later, the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program has grown beyond expectations, providing beef producers the information and tools they need to incorporate safe and effective management practices. Today, approximately 85 percent of U.S. beef comes from BQA-certified producers.

To continue helping beef producers capture more value from their cattle and instill consumer confidence in the beef industry, the BQA program constantly evolves and updates its programs. Here are the exciting BQA updates from this year.

Beef Industry Long Range Plan Includes BQA to Grow Consumer Trust in Beef

A core strategy in the 2021 – 2025 Beef Industry Long Range Plan (LRP) is growing consumer trust in beef production. According to the LRP, research shows an increased desire among all consumers to know more about where their food comes from and how it is produced. Education and documented verification programs, like the BQA program, will contribute to this strategy by increasing cattle producer participation and adoption of BQA principles while also educating the general public about its impact on animal well-being. As producers become BQA certified, they demonstrate an industry-wide commitment to best management practices, increasing the program’s credibility in consumers’ eyes.

“The more robust we can make BQA, the more validity it will have in the eyes of our consumers and alleviate concerns about animal care,” said Kim Brackett, chair of the LRP task force, chair of the BQA Advisory Group and Idaho cow-calf producer. “And what it all comes down to at the end of the day is consumer trust will increase demand for beef.”

To view the full Beef Industry Long Range Plan, Visit: BeefLongRangePlan.com

BQA’s New Calf Care and Quality Assurance Program

The U.S. calf-raising sector now has a program to help ensure optimal calf health and welfare via the Calf Care & Quality Assurance (CCQA) program. CCQA is the first collaborative educational tool that provides guidelines for calf raisers. The CCQA program is a joint initiative led by BQA and the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program, managed by the National Milk Producer’s Federation (NMPF) with support from the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association, and the Beef Checkoff-funded Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) program. A reference manual sets the foundation for the CCQA program. In addition to the manual, the CCQA program will roll out producer-focused training modules that will certify producers in the principles of excellent calf care highlighted throughout the manual later in 2021.

BQA’s New Biosecurity Education Module

BQA released the first in a series of Advanced Education Modules. The initial module focuses on biosecurity and the basics of disease transmission and prevention. These resources were developed so anyone who is involved in raising cattle has the opportunity to understand how biosecurity principles are integrated into their farm or ranch and plan for continuous improvement in the future. Interactive and real-world best practice examples are provided for a variety of topics, such as new bull or replacement purchases and manure management to reduce feed contamination, among others.

For more information about BQA, CCQA and the advanced education modules, visit: BQA.org

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the decision makers behind the Beef Checkoff? This is a commonly asked question, and the answer is – you, the producers.

The Beef Checkoff is more local and grassroots than some producers might think. As a producer-led program, the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board (CBB) currently includes 101 volunteer producer leaders who represent cow/calf, feeder, stocker, veal, dairy and import operations. These producers are busy running their own operations but still volunteer their time to use their knowledge and expertise to guide the Beef Checkoff. Here’s how each segment’s representation on the CBB breaks out:

  • 60% Cow/calf
  • 25% Stocker/feeder
  • 8% Dairy/veal
  • 7% Importer

Cow/calf producers represent the largest base of volunteers. Each of these CBB members has the responsibility, along with representatives from the Federation of State Beef Councils, of serving on committees with specific functions. These committees facilitate, review and approve investments for Beef Checkoff programs.

It’s not just the CBB board members and Federation of State Beef Councils whose thoughts and ideas are used to make Beef Checkoff decisions – the CBB also implements an extensive producer listening initiative to understand and address the concerns of producers who are not as actively involved in the Beef Checkoff.

Understanding how cattlemen and women across the U.S. feel about the cattle industry and its hot topics provides a meaningful link between all strategies and tactics executed by the Beef Checkoff. The CBB gathers this information in various ways through phone and email surveys, one-on-one conversations and roundtable discussions.

The Beef Checkoff has invited thousands of producers to participate in online surveys to understand what beef topics are of concern and what challenges they’re facing. In June 2021, all producers receiving The Drive e-newsletter were invited to take part in the latest survey. Results from the previous survey, held in September 2020, showed producers are worried about misinformation circulated by anti-meat groups and individuals; education on the benefits of real beef over alternative proteins; and consumer confidence in beef safety. After gathering these responses, the CBB will now place a high priority on communicating messages about how it has invested Beef Checkoff dollars to address misinformation on those topics. Also, the CBB considers these producer responses when strategizing and executing new and upcoming Beef Checkoff-funded programs. Once implemented, these Beef Checkoff-funded efforts and investments are then communicated to producers.

The CBB believes in honest and transparent communication, and according to the Beef Checkoff’s annual Producer Attitude Survey, producers say they want to know exactly what’s going on in the industry and how their collective dollars are being allocated.

The Producer Attitude Survey is conducted through an independent research firm to gauge producers’ awareness of and attitudes toward the Beef Checkoff, in addition to seeking feedback about Checkoff programs and projects. When asked about Beef Checkoff activities and their value, producers consistently say, “informing producers about Beef Checkoff programs’ results” is necessary. CBB invests a small percentage (about 3.5 percent) of its total budget toward communications to keep producers informed about what their dollar is accomplishing.

“I like to stay well informed and educated on my Beef Checkoff dollar investments,” said Bilynn Johnson, cow/calf producer from Happy, Texas. “That’s why I really appreciate The Drive e-newsletter every month. I’m able to see exactly what’s been going on with the Beef Checkoff recently.”

The Beef Checkoff will continue to listen to producers’ thoughts, perceptions, ideas and use their insight to promote beef and educate on beef production practices.