Four staff members of the Iowa Beef Industry Council were among some 80 partners from other states who met in Denver, Colo. September 21-23, to begin the fiscal year 2011 national checkoff program. Michelle Baumhover, Angie Beck, Nancy Degner and Brian Waddingham represented Iowa and provided input on program areas to focus checkoff dollars in 2011.
This "State Kickoff" is an annual event that follows the approval of national checkoff budget and programs by the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, or BPOC. It sets the stage for integrated state/national checkoff efforts throughout the next fiscal year. This year, attendees included executive directors and staff representing 35 of the 45 beef councils that collect the $1 checkoff. The 45 beef councils comprise the entity known as the Federation of State Beef Councils.
The BPOC, which includes 10 members from the Cattlemen's Beef Board and 10 from the federation, approved a 2011 national checkoff budget of $42.8 million for 42 programs. The federation, which states opt to support at varying levels through their 50-cent portion of the checkoff, helped boost the national budget with an additional $6.5 million for programs in promotion, research, consumer and industry information, and foreign marketing. The 2011 national checkoff fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2010.
Cattlemen have input into the checkoff planning process
The kickoff event is the launch pad for a year's worth of strategic planning. Cattlemen have input in the planning process all year. They help set priorities and go on to approve specific programs, tactics and budgets. The kickoff is when state staff gets to see all the resources that will be available to help states leverage checkoff dollars and extend national efforts in our local communities.
Checkoff-funded tools include websites, advertising materials, PR and issues management resources, recipes, new product support, nutrition/safety and consumer market research and a number of national promotional campaigns with retail and foodservice partners that allow beef councils to participate through local outlets.
Through cattle farmers' investments in the checkoff, states have access to these turnkey materials or national checkoff staff to assist in sharing positive beef messages with consumers, farmers, health influencers and other audiences at the grassroots level. State beef councils continue to champion the state/national checkoff partnership by pooling our dollars and sharing the same messages to promote beef across the country.
Enthusiasm and great ideas shared between state beef councils
"I came away feeling positive about how dollars were allocated and the depth of checkoff materials that are available to us, from consumer market research to new Beef Quality Assurance programs to videos of U.S. farmers and ranchers demonstrating environmental stewardship practices," says Brian Waddingham, director of industry relations for the Iowa Beef Industry Council.
"There's always a lot of enthusiasm and great ideas shared between state beef councils at kickoff," he says. "This year the staff asked states for specific needs to help them accomplish their 2011 checkoff goals. That gave beef councils a chance to collaborate on common needs and test drive new ideas with SBC staff in other parts of the country. The very next day, the national checkoff staff gave specific responses on how they'd deliver on the highest-priority requests. It was a spirited, integrated exchange on how to leverage checkoff dollars. Leveraging has long been a smart strategy at the state and national levels."
Iowa's cattle farmers are encouraged to contact the Iowa Beef Industry Council for more information on it FY 2011 priorities and programs. "Feel free to share ideas and concerns. Get involved. This is your checkoff," says Waddingham.