Following the December 20 announcement that Scott Stuart, Colorado, has been named CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board (CBB) as of February 1, 2018, we met with him to ask some in-depth, personal questions to help you get to know him a bit better.
Here's what we talked about:
Tell us about your history in the beef industry.
I was raised on my family's cow/calf and yearling operation in the north-central mountains of Colorado. In past years, I have run some cattle of my own; however, in more recent years I have been involved through being the CEO of the National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA), which comprises several regional livestock cooperatives marketing over 2.5 million cattle annually.
In addition, NLPA has served as a contractor to the beef checkoff for the past several years, managing projects in the areas of Producer Communications and Industry Information.
What gets you going every day? What motivation made you want to lead the checkoff program?
I have had the very good fortune to work within the livestock industry all my life.
To be part of such an important part of human life, that of providing nutritious protein, certainly gets me going every day.
To have the opportunity to lead the beef checkoff executive team is an even greater motivator since it is so very important that the checkoff be administered well at all times so that its work through the various contractors utilizes beef producers' dollars most effectively.
Do you feel personally invested in the checkoff? How?
I have had the opportunity to be a part of the beef checkoff in many ways – first, as a producer investing the
$1-per-head, then as the CEO of an organization that is a contractor to the checkoff.
Having seen the amazing breadth of the work the checkoff has done for over 30 years, it's hard not to feel a sense of pride for what the program has achieved and excitement for what it will do in the future.
Why is the checkoff important to beef producers in every sector, and across the country?
As we all know, the beef industry is very complex and has several valuable participants.
From the diversity of the areas of the country that produce cattle, to the wide array of production capabilities, to the sophistication of the harvesting and distribution network that is necessary to move our product within the U.S.
as well as internationally, every participant is important and should be supported by the checkoff.
Through investment in those programs that are achieving success in building beef demand, every participant benefits from this important program.
Where will you start? In other words, you have a big task ahead of you.
Where will you jump in?
People are the most important part of any process.
In the case of the Cattlemen's Beef Board, we have an outstanding professional staff that was developed by the previous CEO, Polly Ruhland, and I look forward to getting to know each of them and to learn about their capabilities.
In addition, I look forward to forming great working relationships with the leadership of the beef checkoff, the various state beef councils, and all of the contractors to the checkoff.
What do you foresee as the biggest challenges the checkoff faces during the next five years?
The need for adequate resourcing is always a challenge.
Given the ever-increasing costs of doing effective research and advertising, the largest challenge will be to stretch CBB funding as far as possible to achieve the necessary work.
This will require a great deal of innovation and perhaps developing partnerships that have not existed previously.
What are your goals as CEO of the checkoff program?
My goal is ensuring the administration of the beef checkoff continues to be above reproach, as the producer's dollar must be invested within all guidelines and to the greatest benefit of the industry.
In addition, it is my goal to work hard to assist leadership and contractors in achieving the goals of the Beef Industry Long Range Plan.
Tell us a little more about your family and hobbies.
I am truly blessed to have as my wife an incredibly positive and energetic person.
Katie, a city girl who is now also involved in the livestock industry, is my inspiration.
I have two sons, Sam and James, who are incredibly talented in many ways.
Sam, who just retired from competing in professional rodeo fulltime, has a custom leather business in Shallowater, Texas, and James, a gifted communicator, is a marketing coordinator for a large commercial construction company in Colorado Springs.
I enjoy being on horseback more than just about anything and also am involved as a member of the board of directors of the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, one of the nation's Top 10 professional rodeos.
To learn more about your checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.