August 2015

Did you know … Beef Briefs is your monthly snapshot of beef checkoff news affecting the dairy and beef industries. Please feel free to use these news items as space allows in your publication or online content. If you would like to expand on a certain topic, please email Melissa Sandfort at

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... U.S. Beef Exports Sluggish in May

... Did You Know ... Consumer Information Audio Shorts

Did You Know ...

... producers continue to support the beef checkoff?

Three out of four producers (76 percent) continue to support the Beef Checkoff Program, and the more they know about the program, the more supportive they are. In addition, the number of producers who say they do not support the program, at 10 percent, is the lowest ever recorded.

The random survey of 601 beef and dairy producers nationwide was conducted by the independent firm Aspen Media & Market Research in late June and early July. The survey found an overwhelming majority of beef and dairy producers continue to say their beef checkoff has value for them in many ways:

  • 81 percent of producers say the beef checkoff has helped to contribute to a positive trend in beef demand.
  • 71 percent of producers say the beef checkoff contributes to the profitability of their operations.
  • 71 percent say the checkoff represents their interests.
  • 68 percent of producers believe the checkoff is well managed

Read the full survey results here.

Collaborating on FMD Crisis Preparedness

Although the U.S. has been free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), the checkoff recognizes the importance of being prepared to communicate with industry and consumer representatives in the event of such a crisis. With that in mind, the checkoff formed the FMD Cross Species Communications Group about a decade ago to create a unified crisis communication plan for the livestock industry and collaborate on consumer-tested FMD messages. In June, the checkoff led a communicators’ webinar for this Secure Beef Supply (SBS) plan to collaborate all sectors of the beef industry on the subject of foreign animal disease outbreaks. Similar to previous briefings of stakeholder groups – such as retail and foodservice trade associations – this latest webinar updated SBS members on communications activities of the FMD Cross Species Communications Group, including consumer-tested messages and talking points, fact sheets, website and other materials developed through the FMD Cross Species Communications Group. The FMD Cross Species Communications Group will continue work to plan against FMD with a tabletop exercise for stakeholders this fall to continue testing the crisis communications plan. Lear more at FMD info.

Sharing the Beef Lifecycle Experience

In June, the national checkoff partnered with the Nebraska Beef Council to lead a group of food-informed influencers on a production immersion experience in Nebraska to answer questions about where their food comes from and are drive conversations with millennials about how food is produced. Vloggers (video bloggers) and food bloggers engaged firsthand with a variety of beef experts at a ranch and a feedyard during the two-day experience. Based on survey results, perceptions were positively shifted and many misconceptions about the beef lifecycle and beef production practices were addressed. Overall, influencers said the experience made them feel more comfortable and knowledgeable about the beef lifecycle, with all of them rating themselves as “very informed” on production practices after the experience. Live social media posts during the tour gave followers an inside look at the experience that many might not have the chance to see firsthand.

Engaging Producers in VQA

Toward achieving the 2015 goal of having 50 percent of all special-fed veal producers certified, the checkoff is working daily to engage veal producers with the Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) program. To maximize efficiency and ease-of-use, certification materials are available at Assuring both customers and consumers that veal farmers are meeting best practices and exceptional standards for good animal care and food safety is important to continued confidence and trust in veal products. Collaboration also continues with the National Milk Producers Federation to help address food safety and animal care best practices with dairy farmers, as they relate to bob veal, as the organization updates its National Dairy FARM program.

Checkoff Communicates With Restaurant Operators

Steak Sales Drive Bigger Checks and Traffic

“In a time when four out of five meals are prepared at home, it's crucial that restaurants serve up on-trend dishes that deliver flavor, experience and keep guests coming back for more.

How? Steak. Guests who order steak spend more and are very likely to continue visiting your restaurant.

There's a reason why operators invested $11.4 billion in steak in 2014. Steak is flexible enough that it offers guests a variety of flavors and concepts at a range of price points, so operators can explore the versatile steaks that meet their menu specs - just one approach to address today's complex marketplace. Take a look at the value that steak can bring your business.”

View the associated checkoff-funded infographic -- shared with restaurant owners nationwide --  here.

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The beef checkoff increases beef demand through promotion, research and new product development, and a variety of other marketing tools.