At its September 16-17 meeting in Denver, the Beef Promotion Operating Committee approved 18 proposals for checkoff funding through the Cattlemen's Beef Board for fiscal year 2015, which began yesterday. The Beef Board will invest $39 million in programs of beef promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications.
"As both a producer and a checkoff leader, it's rewarding to see the tremendous efforts that go into responsible investment of producers' and importers' hard-earned dollars into solid checkoff programs that produce results," says Scott McGregor federation member of the Beef Board Operating Committee and Nashua, Iowa cattle producer.
Fiscal Year 2015 budget
The Operating Committee approved proposals from eight national beef organizations for funding through the Fiscal Year 15 budget, as follows:
• National Cattlemen's Beef Association (nine proposals for $27.8 million)
• U.S. Meat Export Federation (one proposal for $7.7 million)
• Cattlemen's Beef Board (one proposal for $1.5 million)
• North American Meat Association (three proposals for $1.1 million)
• American National CattleWomen (one proposal for $371,000)
• Meat Import Council of America (one proposal for $350,800)
• American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (one proposal for $222,500)
• National Livestock Producers Association (one proposal for $45,000)
Broken out by programs, the Fiscal Year 2015 Plan of Work for the Cattlemen's Beef Board budget includes:
• $8 million for Promotion – continuation of the checkoff's consumer digital advertising program and veal promotion.
• $9.7 million for Research – pre- and post-harvest beef safety research, product quality research, human nutrition research and scientific affairs, market research, and beef and culinary innovations.
• $10.4 million for Consumer Information – Northeast public relations initiative, national consumer public relations, including a "Moms, Millennials and More" program, nutrition-influencer relations, and creating a digital application and beef game for youth.
• $1.7 million for Industry Information – dissemination of accurate information about the beef industry to counter misinformation, and funding for checkoff participation in an industry-wide symposium focused on discussion and dissemination of information about antibiotic use.
• $7.7 million for Foreign Marketing and Education – 80 countries in: ASEAN region; Caribbean; Central America/Dominican Republic; China/Hong Kong; Europe; Japan; Korea; Mexico; Middle East; Russia/Greater Russian Region; South America; and Taiwan.
• $1.5 million for Producer Communications – outreach using national and direct communications to producers about checkoff results; development and use of information conduits; maintenance of a seamless partnership with state beef council producer-communication efforts; and producer attitude research.
Other expenses include $221,000 for evaluation, $305,000 for program development, $325,000 for USDA oversight; and about $1.9 million for administration.
Easily accessible information
"There are so many projects that could be funded, exciting projects that we just don't have the funds for," McGregor says. "With the smaller beef herd we've dealt with over the last five years, the value of our product has increased, but we have fewer dollars to market it, so it's important our dollars are focused in the right direction."
Many dollars are focused on reaching millennial consumers. "Young parents, fresh out of college, building a family, building a home, we're trying to make sure they have all the information they need when they're making a choice for meals," McGregor says. "It's important that beef always be on their mind, and to find it's a good value no matter what the price is."
For these highly-digitized consumers, information must be readily accessible via web search on their tablet or smartphone. "If someone's searching for a beef recipe at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, we want checkoff to be first in line when you get those search results," McGregor says. "There are a lot of different options, and we want ours to be the most credible and accessible in terms of culinary innovations."
For details about individual proposals considered by the Operating Committee, visit MyBeefCheckoffMeeting.com.