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Frequently Asked Questions

American TV icon Ed Sullivan used to boast that viewers were about to witness “a really big show!” Well, a really big show came to Denver September 9-10, and as always, the Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC) meeting, where the Beef Checkoff program funding decisions are made for the next fiscal year, didn’t disappoint.

Opponents of the Beef Checkoff have criticized the program for all sorts of things: being outdated, being unfair…even doing business behind closed doors. But anyone who follows the process or has attended a BPOC meeting knows nothing could be further from the truth.

Work conducted during the annual BPOC is the culmination of the beef industry’s entire year — the end result of hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours from producers and importers, thousands of miles traveled, and hours upon hours of painstaking study and spirited debate. This year, the 20-member committee heard from nine potential contractors, both big and small, pitching 15 Authorization Requests that encompassed more than 50 tactics. From Producer Communications, Promotion, and Research to Foreign Marketing, and Consumer and Industry Information, every one of the ideas was carefully crafted to carry out the Beef Checkoff’s primary mission: to drive demand for beef.

Some proposals promised creative outreach solutions; others looked at ways to keep beef at the center of the plate, both here and abroad; still others dove into nutrition, sustainability, antibiotics, and other leading-edge scientific waters. There was something for every interest. Discussions were long and often impassioned as committee members tirelessly debated, probed, and debated some more to ultimately whittle down the funding requests by more than $8 million to match the projected budget. It was fiscal responsibility and accountability in action — and in today’s crazy world, that’s something to be proud of.

So, when the dust settled, did everyone get everything they wanted? Did anyone get everything they wanted? No. The reality is, it was the Beef Checkoff process as producers intended 35 years ago: an exercise in innovation, compromise, and finding the best possible ways to leverage producers’ and importers’ Checkoff dollars. Like all Checkoff business, the doors were wide open, and producers and importers were welcome to observe the proceedings. For anyone who wasn’t able to attend, you can see how it all shook out on the CBB website.

Frequently Asked Questions


I’ve heard some producers say that they don’t know how their Checkoff dollars are spent. In fact, I heard one say that once they pay their money, “POOF, it just disappears.” Really? Well, they must not have looked very far or very hard.

The one-stop shop for everything Beef Checkoff is the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) website, DrivingDemandforBeef.com. Everything a producer needs to know about where their Checkoff dollars are invested is right there. This includes program proposals with budget summaries, program updates, board and committee information, and more. Producers can get even more program information by subscribing to The Drive, a complimentary quarterly publication.

Of course, the best way to get informed is to participate. There’s no substitute for getting involved and attending local and national meetings. In fact, this is the busiest time of year for planning/funding activities and meetings, and these will be on full display at the annual Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, TN, August 10-12. In addition to celebrating the Beef Checkoff’s 35th Anniversary, this gathering will focus on the proposed programs being considered for Checkoff funding for the upcoming fiscal year.

Here’s how the process works:

During the past months, a diverse group of contractors has been developing a wide range of project funding requests known as Authorization Requests (ARs). These ARs are based on strategies outlined in the current Beef Industry Long Range Plan.

The AR’s first stop is the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB), where a preliminary version of the proposal is reviewed and vetted. Next, the AR is forwarded to the appropriate Beef Checkoff Program Committee(s) for assessment at the Summer Business Meeting during the Cattle Industry Convention. There, the contractors present their proposals to the producer-led committee(s) and answers questions. Committee members score the AR and provide feedback, which the contractors use to revise and finalize their ARs before presenting to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC) in September.

Responsible for approving and funding Checkoff work each year, the 20-member, all-volunteer BPOC is one of the most important groups in the beef industry. Its producer and importer representation is evenly divided between state and national members: 10 from the CBB and 10 from the Federation of State Beef Councils. This group will meet September 9-10 in Denver to hear detailed presentations from all potential contractors and make final funding decisions.

It’s important to note that all of these meetings are open to all Checkoff-paying producers and importers, and provide great insight into how the whole Beef Checkoff program works and what your Checkoff dollars will be doing! It’s also important to know that producer and importer volunteers from around the country are calling the shots every step of the way — and laying it all out there plainly and publicly for fellow producers to see. The Beef Checkoff program has been and continues to be fully accountable, fully transparent, and fully available for producers to check out any time they want. So, POOF, there it is!

Frequently Asked Questions

Twenty cattlemen and women – representing cow/calf, feeders, stockers, dairy, and importers – will gather in Denver, Colorado on September 9 & 10 to discuss, debate, and ultimately allocate around $40 million for eligible beef industry programs within the Beef Checkoff.  This group is known as the Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC) and meets each year at this time with some big beef decisions on their plate.

The BPOC “September Decision” is no easy task.  The Committee is appointed by their peers, and has 10 members from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, and 10 members from the Federation of State Beef Councils, from all over the U.S.  This versatile group is tasked with a very important and serious job: to select and fund the best Beef Checkoff programs for the following fiscal year, beginning October 1.

Months of feedback has already taken place by the time the BPOC members step off the plane in Denver.  Calls for proposals from Checkoff contractors went out earlier in the year; the proposals, known as Authorization Requests (ARs), were reviewed and edited by multiple bodies.  In July, contractors presented their preliminary ARs to more than 200 beef producers on Checkoff committees, asking for honest feedback and comments on their ideas and projects.  Those committees obliged and gave them pages of comments and suggestions, and even rated every potential program.  Following those presentations, each contractor then took that feedback home and adjusted their projects to best ensure they meet the needs and wants of those producers that pay into the Checkoff.  That same feedback was gathered and handed over to the BPOC for this September meeting– valuable insight when allocating millions of dollars.

Membership on the Operating Committee is not for the meek.  Every year, contractors typically bring many millions of dollars more in “asks” than the budget allows.  Dividing the Checkoff dollars between promotion, research and education projects – down to the penny, I might add – is often accompanied by lively debate, difficult decisions, and unfortunately, even cuts to great programs.  The members weigh and sift each proposal, separating the “wheat from the chaff, by focusing on what they believe will best support the industry now and in the future.

These beef-producing decision makers pay Checkoff dollars themselves; they know the weight of their “September Decision” on fellow cattle families, and the entire beef industry.  Those Checkoff dollars are theirs too, and their decisions are not taken lightly.

For more information on the upcoming 2020 Beef Promotion Operating Committee meeting, which is open to anyone and will be conducted virtually this year, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB):

During the Summer Business Meeting, Checkoff committee members from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and Federation of State Beef Councils in each of the five different program committees – Safety, Nutrition and Health, Innovation, Consumer Trust and Export Growth – heard presentations from Checkoff contractors. These presentations explained how programs, research and education have creatively changed to drive beef demand over the past six months. Watch the contractor video presentations. In September, cattlemen and women on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board Operating Committee are meeting in Denver to review and approve upcoming proposals for the next fiscal year. Exciting new Checkoff efforts to come.

American Farm Bureau Federation for Agriculture (AFBFA):

AFBFA continues to find new ways to promote and support agricultural literacy. Two recent livestream events about “anchoring phenomena” and “investigative phenomena” that reached nearly 1,000 participants are now available for viewing at onthefarmstem.com. Additional courses supporting teachers getting started in science education are also now available. Currently, the postponed On the Farm Immersive event is still planned for mid-September. Get more information.

See Update Here

Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research & Education (FMPRE)/North American Meat Institute (NAMI):

#WienerWednesday Campaign Declared Most Viral Beef Campaign on TikTok. Learn how the popularity of hot dogs got millions of views and advocated for beef.

See Update Here

Meat Importers Council of America (MICA)/Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI):

NEBPI continues to actively promote beef in the Northeastern U.S. through numerous innovative tactics. Summer grilling campaigns with online grocers, more family-focused educational resources, a Radio.com sponsorship, social media takeovers and much more are encouraging beef purchases and enhancing consumer trust in beef throughout this very important market. Find out how these programs are engaging with consumers throughout the region.

See Update Here

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA):

NCBA and the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand are bringing chefs and beef producers together for an upcoming video series campaign. The videos will showcase the immersion experiences of chefs as they tour cattle operations for a first-hand look at the care that goes into creating high-quality beef, and conversely, the experiences of producers as they tour the chef’s restaurants to see the complexity of how some of their most popular beef dishes are made. Learn more about this upcoming effort and more.

See Update Here

United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF):

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff, reports that U.S. beef export levels are beginning to recover from declines in May and June. Weekly export data suggests an upward demand trend in several markets, and with production recovering, the U.S. is regaining its supply advantage. USMEF expects U.S. beef exports to regain momentum in the second half of the year. See the USMEF’s current efforts around the world.

See Update Here

 


Programming Updates

July 28, 2020

Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB):

The Drive reaches new heights. The June issue of The Drive e-newsletter was the best performing issue to date with the most people opening any issue ever. The new “Summer Campaign Puts Beef On The Grill” article was highly read with more clicks by far than any other article. The Drive has grown to approximately 16,000 e-newsletter subscribers and 80,000 printed subscribers, with the July print issue including 16 state inserts. The Beef Checkoff also launched another installment of the Your Dollar Does campaign, highlighting the progress and wins from each of the Checkoff’s program areas. This installment focuses on the Checkoff’s promotional power and their efforts to efficiently reach urban consumers in innovative ways.

American Farm Bureau Federation for Agriculture (AFBFA):

AFBFA continues to find new ways to promote and support agricultural literacy. Two recent livestream events about “anchoring phenomena” and “investigative phenomena” that reached nearly 1,000 participants are now available for viewing at onthefarmstem.com. Additional courses supporting teachers getting started in science education are also now available. Currently, the postponed On the Farm Immersive event is still planned for mid-September.

See Update Here

Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research & Education (FMPRE)/North American Meat Institute (NAMI):

A social media Beefshi promotion with Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, the Veal Stay Home Grill Out summer grilling promotion and research priorities to ensure safe, nutritious beef are among the highlights from NAMI and FMPRE. Learn more about these promotion and research activities.

See Update Here

Meat Importers Council of America (MICA)/Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI):

NEBPI continues to actively promote beef in the Northeastern U.S. through numerous innovative tactics. Summer grilling campaigns with online grocers, more family-focused educational resources, a Radio.com sponsorship, social media takeovers and much more are encouraging beef purchases and enhancing consumer trust in beef throughout this very important market. Find out how these programs are engaging with consumers throughout the region. 

See Update Here

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA):

NCBA and the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand have been very busy this summer, getting as much positive press for beef as possible. Their recent efforts include a burger-cooking demo on Good Morning America, releasing the “Real Facts about Real Beef” video series, hosting virtual “Meat Ups” with nutritionists and other thought leaders, and continuing to promote the United We Steak summer grilling campaign. Check out these efforts and much more.

See Update Here

National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA)/National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA):

The recent webinar Improving Communication About Antibiotic Stewardship for Producers and Stakeholders sponsored by the Beef Checkoff, Kentucky Beef Council and NLPA is now ready for distribution and can be found on the CBB website, Kybeef.com and NLPA.org. This video will also be distributed to all of the state beef councils. Videos about antimicrobial stewardship and a webinar with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are coming in August.

See Update Here

North American Meat Institute (NAMI) Veal Program:

The Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) program has experienced a high level of recertification, with various new tools encouraging veal growers to follow the program’s best management practices. Other highlights included a column about bull calves published in numerous industry publications as well as new blog posts and videos on VealFarm.com. Sign up is also going on now for an August 4 Veal Farm-to-Fork webinar. Learn more about the webinar and all these veal-focused efforts.

See Update Here

United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA)/Kansas State University (KSU)

The Meat Demand Monitor (MDM) issued its first multi-month report, leveraging over 10,000 survey responses spanning from February to June 2020. This period coincides with nearly the beginning of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic, providing valuable insight into consumer purchasing behaviors during a national health crisis. Learn more and read the report here.

See Update Here

United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF):

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff, data indicates sustained demand for U.S. beef amid economic slowdowns. Economic and sales statistics are now documenting COVID-19’s impact in the Asia-Pacific region, where the pandemic began. E-commerce is emerging as a lifeline for traditional offline models, providing much-needed help during the pandemic. Having “omni-channel” capability is becoming critical for success in a world that is structurally, and rapidly, shifting from offline to online shopping and purchasing. Discover how USMEF is encouraging beef sales in numerous countries worldwide.

See Update Here

 


Programming Updates

July 2, 2020

The Beef Checkoff works to stimulate beef demand through promotional, research and educational efforts, initiatives and programs, all executed by Checkoff contractors and subcontractors. Even in a changing climate, these contractors update their plans in real-time to ensure beef demand remains strong.

Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB):

The Checkoff’s Producer Communications team continues to gather and share Checkoff contractor updates via social media, trade media interviews, and website updates. See their recent efforts.

See Update Here

American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA):

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA) strives to help learners of all ages understand agriculture and the vital role it plays in day-to-day life. Even with social distancing, AFBFA is working diligently to provide excellent experiences where participants can engage, learn and continue to grow as professionals. Get the program updates.

See Update Here 

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA):

The Beef Checkoff-funded Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is executing an exciting new summer grilling campaign to keep beef top of mind with consumers. Learn more about their efforts.

See Update Here

Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research & Education (FMPRE)/North American Meat Institute (NAMI):

The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) will continue to build trust in prepared beef products and veal, and the Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education (FMPRE) will continue education and research efforts during these unprecedented times. Learn more about program adjustments and new virtual events they hosted.

See Update Here

Meat Importers Council of America (MICA)/Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI):

The Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative builds beef consumption in Northeast metropolitan areas. The team is implementing new outreach efforts and digital campaigns to target a home-based lifestyle consumer. Also new is fun and educational beef-related activities to help engage kids at home. See the new initiatives.

See Update Here

National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA)/National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA):

NLPA will be hosting a 60-minute free webinar titled: Improving Communication about Antibiotic Stewardship for Producers and Stakeholders on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 7pm Central time.

This webinar will be facilitated by Andy J. King, Ph.D., Assistant Professor with the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University as a follow up to the NIAA Antibiotic Symposium held last Fall.  He will be joined by Mr. Andy Bishop, Fairfield Farms and Ms. Niki Ellis, Director of Education with the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association.  Topics include:

  • The challenges of communicating science to varied audiences
  • Ideas for developing communication strategies for stakeholders
  • Link strategic communication plans to desired outcomes

Register in advance for this meeting here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting and a link to add it to your calendar.

United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA)/Kansas State University (KSU):

In cooperation with Kansas State University, the Meat Demand Monitor project provides timely research on U.S. meat demand trends, especially relating to COVID-19. Parallel producer and consumer engagement occurs with each research report update. This is evolving into a multi-month project and Dr. Glynn Tonsor with Kansas State University, will take a deeper dive in the five months of data collected so far.

United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF):

The U.S. Meat Export Federation is accustomed to change in the international marketplace. With the COVID-19 situation varying from country to country, see how the team is adjusting its messaging accordingly by country to continue emphasizing the integrity of U.S. beef.

See Updates Here


Programming Updates

May 18, 2020

Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB):

The Checkoff’s Producer Communications team continues to gather and share Checkoff contractor updates via social media, trade media interviews, and website updates. In addition, the PC team has reached out to state beef councils, who have been asked to connect with producers in their state about what is happening locally to help drive beef demand. Updates to these efforts will be posted onto DrivingDemandForBeef.com under the COVID-19 Response page.

See Update Here

American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA):

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA) strives to help learners of all ages understand agriculture and the vital role it plays in day-to-day life. Even with social distancing, AFBFA is working diligently to provide excellent experiences where participants can engage, learn and continue to grow as professionals. Get the program updates.

See Update Here 

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA):

The Beef Checkoff-funded Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is executing an exciting new campaign showcasing how beef farmers and ranchers are helping keep beef on the grill during summer grilling season.

See Update Here

Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research & Education (FMPRE)/North American Meat Institute (NAMI):

The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) will continue to build trust in prepared beef products and veal, and the Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education (FMPRE) will continue education and research efforts during these unprecedented times. Learn more about program adjustments and new virtual events they hosted.

See NAMI Update Here

See FMPRE Update Here 

Meat Importers Council of America (MICA)/Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI):

The Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative builds beef consumption in Northeast metropolitan areas. The team is implementing new outreach efforts and digital campaigns to target a home-based lifestyle consumer. Also new is fun and educational beef-related activities to help engage kids at home. See the new initiatives.

See Update Here

National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA)/National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA):

Three new short videos will be released beginning in June through August featuring Andy Bishop, Dr. Dave Williams and Danielle Harmon – all from Kentucky. The videos demonstrate examples and tools learned from the 2019 Antibiotic Symposium. They share how to communicate their values and practices effectively, so consumers know they are getting a safe, healthy and wholesome product. Videos will be available on the National Livestock Producer website: https://nlpa.wildapricot.org/  state beef councils and many other communication channels. Watch for the announcement coming soon!

United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF):

The U.S. Meat Export Federation is accustomed to change in the international marketplace. With the COVID-19 situation varying from country to country, see how the team is adjusting its messaging accordingly by country to continue emphasizing the integrity of U.S. beef.

See Updates Here

United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA)/Kansas State University (KSU):

In cooperation with Kansas State University, the Meat Demand Monitor project provides timely research on U.S. meat demand trends, especially relating to COVID-19. Parallel producer and consumer engagement occurs with each research report update.


Driving Demand for Beef Amidst Supply Chain Challenges

April 27, 2020

Jared Brackett

Cattle prices have plummeted in recent weeks due to supply chain disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the current challenges, Cattlemen’s Beef Board Chair Jared Brackett says the checkoff program continues to drive demand for beef. The mandatory Beef Checkoff is $1 per head collected each time cattle are sold. Brackett, who is a cow/calf producer and cattle feeder in southern Idaho, says it is bothersome when prices are not profitable. “It does bother me when I get $1.09 for a pen of cattle I trade three weeks ago that graded 42 percent prime and 58 percent choice,” says Brackett. “That’s $20 under what I got last year at this time. I tell my fellow producers keep doing what you do best; that’s producing safe, nutritious beef.” The full RRFN interview with Brackett is available here.


Programming Updates

April 6, 2020

Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB):

The Checkoff’s Producer Communications team continues to gather and share Checkoff contractor updates via social media, trade media interviews, and website updates. In addition, the PC team has reached out to state beef councils, who have been asked connect with producers in their state about what is happening locally to help drive beef demand. Updates to these efforts will be posted onto DrivingDemandForBeef.com under the COVID-19 Response page.

American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA):

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA) strives to help learners of all ages understand agriculture and the vital role it plays in day-to-day life. Even with social distancing, AFBFA is working diligently to provide excellent experiences where participants can engage, learn and continue to grow as professionals. Get the program updates.

See Update Here

Meat Importers Council of America (MICA)/Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI):

The Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative builds beef consumption in Northeast metropolitan areas. The team is implementing new outreach efforts and digital campaigns to target a home-based lifestyle consumer. Also new is fun and educational beef-related activities to help engage kids at home. See the new initiatives.

See Update Here

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA):

The Beef Checkoff-funded Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is executing an exciting new campaign aimed at beefing up consumers at home dishes. See how this campaign is encouraging consumers to make beef their “meat substitute” of choice.

See Update Here

National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA)/National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA):

Cattle producers from Kentucky have made substantial progress in rethinking how to use antibiotics in animal care. A  short video is now available on the National Livestock Producer Association (NLPA) website: https://nlpa.wildapricot.org/ NLPA supported the efforts of a recent symposium on antibiotic use. A large part of the program focused on how producers can better communicate their own stories. The goal is to help offset the misinformation consumers are bombarded with every day from oftentimes unreliable sources.

North American Meat Institute (NAMI):

The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) will continue to build trust in prepared beef products and veal, and the Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education (FMPRE) will continue education and research efforts during these unprecedented times. Learn more about program adjustments and new virtual objectives.

See Update Here

United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA):

The Monthly Meat Demand Monitor project continues following its full initiation in February. In March, two base reports, along with a focused assessment of early trends tied to COVID-19, have been posted here: https://www.agmanager.info/livestock-meat/meat-demand/monthly-meat-demand-monitor-survey-data. Twitter coverage followed each post too.

United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF):

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is accustomed to change in the international marketplace. With the COVID-19 situation varying from country to country, see how the team is adjusting its messaging accordingly to continue emphasizing the integrity of U.S. beef.

See Update Here


Contractor Update

March 23, 2020

Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB):

The CBB’s producer communications office is utilizing all available channels to provide checkoff stakeholders with up-to-date information regarding changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Checkoff updates may be found on DrivingDemandForBeef.com. In addition, producers who have signed up for The Drive, the Checkoff’s newsletter, will receive ongoing email updates as needed. State Beef Councils and trade media will receive updates as well, in an effort to reach as many producers as possible.

American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA):

The AFBFA builds consumer trust in the beef industry by engaging with education leaders. While their messages to educators have not changed, the way they are delivering those messages will. The team is replacing cancelled in-person events by providing information and educational resources to the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) and switching a Summer Professional Development series with virtual workshops. They’ll also share information via emails, social media and through the On The Farm STEM website.

Meat Importers Council of America (MICA)/Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI):

NEBPI, a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff through MICA, builds beef consumption in populous Northeast metropolitan areas. While COVID-19 has impacted NEBPI’s attendance at multiple events and conferences, their team is working with event coordinators to determine the possibility rescheduling these events or conducting them online. NEBPI will remain present with Northeastern consumers and influencers by emphasizing digital and social media campaigns. They are changing their outreach efforts and messaging to fit with a more home-based lifestyle, and they’re assessing future campaigns to ensure they also match this focus.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA):

NCBA and State Beef Councils throughout the country will leverage their extensive content library, including ads, recipes, cooking videos and educational materials about beef nutrition and proper handling practices to help consumers safely prepare beef at home. NCBA staff will also provide this information to influencers, supply chain partners and the media to support their consumer education efforts. Other plans include the release of three new videos using beef in place of other proteins in popular dishes and a summer grilling promotion set to begin Memorial Day weekend.

National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA)/National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA):

NLPA, in conjunction with NIAA, organizes the annual Antibiotic Symposium as a part of the checkoff’s Industry Information program. A visit to the Centers for Disease Control with the Kentucky Beef Council scheduled for mid-March has been postponed to late summer or possibly early October. The team will continue to work on producer videos as the year progresses, with an anticipated completion date of September 30. A follow-up communication webinar planned with Iowa State University has also been postponed until later this year since the university has closed indefinitely.

North American Meat Institute (NAMI):

NAMI will continue to focus on its dual responsibilities of building trust in prepared beef products and promoting veal prepared at home in the weeks and months ahead. The organization has already completed numerous conferences and expos for FY2020, and staff are currently assessing future events to determine whether they will need to transition from in-person gatherings to virtual, online tactics. Other initiatives may become content marketing opportunities sharing recipes and at-home healthy living tips via webinars, newsletter and other online resources.

United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA):

The Meat Demand Monitor, a research tool developed by the USCA and its subcontractor, Kansas State University (KSU), continues forward, comparing beef’s retail and foodservice trends over time. March data collection is nearing completion, and April data collection will likely begin on April 2 or 3. Dr. Glynn Tonser, professor of agricultural economics at KSU, is collecting data and developing reports from his home office, and he expects to see some eye-opening trends emerge due to COVID-19’s impact on consumer demand.

United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF):

USMEF works with countries worldwide to increase U.S. beef exports, and they are accustomed to constant change in the international marketplace. The team is adjusting its messaging accordingly as the situation differs from country to country. The team has seen shifts in demand from foodservice to retail and delivery in Asia, but also sees foodservice demand slowly rebounding. They continue to emphasize the integrity of U.S. beef and the reliability of the U.S. as a trading partner. Some key international events have been cancelled, and USMEF has rescheduled the annual Beef Leadership Development Team trip from April to June. If travel restrictions are still happening in June, they plan to move the trip to September. USMEF’s 19 worldwide offices are conducting events as allowed in their respective countries, and if that changes, they will switch to phone, Skype and webinar-based conversations.


Update From Jared Brackett

March 23, 2020

As I watch television news reports from my ranch and listen to radio broadcasts in my truck while checking on cattle, I see the impact that COVID-19 is having on our economy, including the stock market and cattle markets. And, as a beef producer, I know firsthand how frustrating this situation is for cattlemen and women across the country. Certainly, none of us could’ve anticipated the circumstances we’re currently facing on top of other issues that have impacted the entire beef industry over the past few years.

Jared Brackett

While I’m a beef producer first and foremost, I’m also the 2020 chair of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB). Our 99-member board – consisting primarily of domestic beef, veal and dairy producers – oversees the collection and spending of Beef Checkoff dollars. Our goal is to promote beef and increase demand, and in these uncertain times, I want to assure you that the Beef Checkoff and its contractors continue to work toward that very important goal.

We know that we must quickly reassess our 2020 plans in all checkoff program areas – promotion, research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and producer communications. And, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Our contractors are pivoting as we speak, changing their strategies and tactics to better address the current and future effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past few days, we contacted each Beef Checkoff contractor to ask for updates in light of the rapidly evolving world situation. Here, we’ve summarized some ways several of our contractors and subcontractors are responding to ensure beef demand remains stronger than ever.

Most are emphasizing strategies and tactics intended to encourage beef consumption at home rather than in restaurants as more areas mandate social distancing and quarantining. They’re providing influencers, supply chain partners and the media with recipes, videos and other educational materials to support these efforts. Contractors and subcontractors are turning more to social media, digital marketing, updated website content, newsletters, emails and other online tools to continue delivering positive messages about beef to their intended audiences. Many are transitioning scheduled in-person conferences and expos to virtual events or rescheduling them for later this year. More detailed information on specific contractors, programs, events and initiatives is available from our new “COVID-19 Response” page at DrivingDemandForBeef.com.

The COVID-19 situation is extremely fluid, and none of us can know what next month, next week or even tomorrow may bring. That’s why Beef Checkoff contractors will continue adjusting their plans over the next few weeks and months. As chairman of the CBB, I will work with our team to continue providing regular updates at DrivingDemandForBeef.com. Knowledge is power, and it’s our job to make sure you are aware of how your checkoff dollars are being spent to help the beef industry adapt to this changing world.

We are all in this together, and we will rise to meet this new challenge. Please know that the Beef Checkoff and its contractors will be working diligently on your behalf to keep driving beef demand so that you can focus on what you do best: producing high-quality beef for consumers worldwide. My thoughts are with all of you, and my hope is that someday soon, we’ll be able to look back and see how our combined efforts made a positive difference during this difficult time.


Guidance that may be helpful for ranchers in addressing operational issues

March 23, 2020

Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response

Critical Infrastructure – Employee Sample Document

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve never seen anything like this current beef situation; actually, in our lifetimes, we have never seen an economic situation like this that’s affected every industry, including ours. All aspects of the economy are reeling, and yet beef producers continue to be a strong, resilient breed who weather what life throws at them. Still, in the current environment, it is easy to get frustrated, to want to point fingers and lay blame, or to just be downright angry at the situation itself. We understand that.

With frustration often comes misunderstanding. There has been more and more misinformation floating around about the Beef Checkoff in recent weeks as producers seek answers to questions about the state of our industry.  But remember, while the Beef Checkoff does so many great things, it can’t do everything.  It is important to remember that we are built on a law that squarely focuses our programs on beef promotion, research, and education to drive consumer demand.  No lobbying.  No stance on possible political actions or laws. No backroom dealings. Nothing to hide.

We want to have transparent, open, and honest conversations about the way we operate. We welcome questions, and we have heard our share of those in recent weeks. We’re always working to find ways to clearly communicate with producers about the Beef Checkoff’s mission and programs – including where your dollars are spent – with information that is both transparent and simple to find. Here’s some key information about the Beef Checkoff and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board that may help you better understand how our programs work.

Answers to the Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about the Beef Checkoff:

1. Who sits on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board?

The Beef Checkoff was first organized and built by fellow producers, and the law reflects their desire to have a program led by cattlemen and women from around the country. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board consists of 99 board members, appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, representing nearly every state in the country. By law, both producers and importers pay into the checkoff, and are therefore represented on the board. The number of board members from each state is determined by the cattle population there, and importers are represented by a cattle equivalent of the beef imported. Currently the CBB has 92 beef producers (cow/calf, feeders, stockers, veal, and dairy) and 7 importers. There are no packer representatives on the CBB. Our CBB officer team is elected annually by their peers, and they are producers from all over the country. Meet our current CBB members

2. How do Beef Checkoff funds get distributed?

By law, only beef industry governed organizations who have been in existence for more than two years may apply for Beef Checkoff funding. We call these organizations “checkoff contractors”, and they must “apply” for checkoff funds annually through proposals called Authorization Requests.  These requests are vetted through large, producer-led committees throughout the year. The Beef Promotion Operating Committee, a 20-member producer body, ultimately makes the funding decisions for contractors every September for the following fiscal year. Again, no checkoff dollars can be used for lobbying or influencing politics. Contractors to the Beef Checkoff are reimbursed for their work on a cost-recovery basis after a full review of their expenses through the internal financial controls at the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. This is watched VERY carefully. Learn more about our checkoff contractors and their requests.

3. What specific projects are currently being funded with Beef Checkoff dollars?

We understand producers want to know specifics about the programs and projects being funded with their checkoff dollars. We created The Drive, an email, print and online information source for producers about every aspect of the checkoff. Sign up for your complimentary subscription to The Drive. In addition, follow the Beef Checkoff on Facebook and Twitter, where we share timely updates, too.

4. Where can I find the annual audited financials of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board

We are required by law to provide our annual audited financials to the public. To reach as many producers as possible, these documents live on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board website. It is important to note that every fall, an independent, outside auditing firm thoroughly reviews all financials of the CBB / Beef Checkoff. The contract for this firm is renewed each year, voted on by producers on the Budget and Audit Committee. Read the annual audited financials.

5. How can a producer get involved with the Cattlemen’s Beef Board?

Please join us! The Cattlemen’s Beef Board meetings are open to every producer and we encourage your participation. While some meetings are the full 99-member board, others are smaller committees and groups. Find specific information on upcoming in-person and teleconference meetings.

While we continue to promote beef to consumers, we are also here to provide transparent information to you, our stakeholders. We invite you to visit DrivingDemandForBeef.com to find all the information listed in this column, plus frequently asked questions, member directories, annual reports, contractor information, and so much more. If you cannot find the answers to your questions there, give us a call or send us an email. We are a program built from producers, and we remain dedicated to providing transparent, open, and honest communication with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Jo Ann Smith is perhaps best known as the visionary founding chair of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, spearheading the development of the highly successful Beef Checkoff. Widely regarded as one of the most effective leaders in the organization’s history, Mrs. Smith shared a few words at the Cattlemen’s Beef Board meeting in San Antonio in February.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC) is one of the most influential and impactful producer-led committees in the beef industry, making major funding decisions on Beef Checkoff investments and priorities.

When the Beef Promotion and Research Act was first passed as part of the 1985 Farm Bill, many state beef councils were already working together and conducting checkoff-funded programs through the Beef Industry Council. The Act recognized this state effort, and by law allowed for half of the dollar to remain in the state to fund state programs and promotion. Then, to guarantee state and national programs were coordinated, the Act created the BPOC to ensure funding decisions about checkoff programs as well as decisions regarding which organizations to contract with and carry out the program.

The BPOC develops the annual checkoff budget, which is then approved by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Programs and projects must remain in the areas of promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing, producer communications and must drive beef demand.

The Operating Committee has a unique makeup, with 20 members total from two different entities: 10 members are elected by the CBB, while the remaining 10 are selected by the states through the Federation of State Beef Councils. No checkoff program or project is approved unless two-thirds of Operating Committee members vote to accept it. This means that a program must have recognized value in order to earn the consensus needed to be successfully funded. By formulating a committee that reflects both national and state priorities, the Beef Checkoff is better equipped to spend dollars more effectively and efficiently.

Every August, members of the CBB and Federation of State Beef Councils gather at the industry’s annual Summer Business Meeting to review funding proposals from various checkoff contractors and make recommendations based on industry and producer needs. The BPOC then convenes in September to establish the final funding recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year.