If you can't attend the 2006 Cattle Industry Convention in Denver next week but want to know what's going on in checkoff meetings or offer your input on checkoff issues, technology is on your side â€“ that is, as long as you have access to the Internet.
The Cattlemen's Beef Board has launched a new Internet "blog" - at www.beefboardmeeting.com - which will offer producers ready access to agendas for checkoff meetings and reports from those meetings as quickly as possible after each meeting ends, as well as minutes of the last meeting each checkoff committees. (The term "blog" is a common Internet reference that is short for "Web log" - representing an electronic-format, Internet journal, diary, or newsletter, that is updated frequently and easy for people with little or no technical background to use.)
Maybe most important to the blog, however, is a "reply" option posted with each agenda or meeting report, so producers who are not able to attend the convention have an opportunity to send messages to Beef Board leaders or committee representatives immediately before, during and after the meeting. In addition, it provides access to what's going on in all committee meetings for those in attendance at the convention but obviously only able to attend one committee meeting at a time.
"We're trying to get information out to the producers to let them know exactly what's happening at the convention and encourage them to have input back in to the committees, so that all of the people who pay the checkoff will be part of the process," says Beef Board Vice Chairman Jay O'Brien, a Texas cattleman. O'Brien also chairs the Beef Board Executive Committee, which requested development of an electronic venue for off-site participation in CBB meetings.
"We have 108 producer members of the Beef Board who serve on the committees, who work hard to decide the best way to spend the checkoff dollars," O'Brien says. "But, of course, we have a lot more producers out there than those 108. We want every producer to be informed about what is going on and to be able to have input as to where the checkoff dollars are spent."
To access the Beef Board meeting "blog," just go to www.beefboardmeeting.com, which will take you to an opening welcome from Beef Board Chairman Al Svajgr, a Nebraska cattleman. Choose from the list of categories of information listed on buttons along the left side of that page, and click on that button. Before meetings, each committee listing will include and agenda of what its meeting at convention will cover, with minutes from the committee's previous meeting accessible at the top of each committee page.
After a committee meets, a summary of discussion and action taken will be posted. Comments from producers or other interested parties can be submitted any time - before, during or after the meetings. To submit comments, scroll to the bottom of a committee page, enter your comment in the "Leave a Reply" section, then click on "Submit Comment" at the bottom. The site will be monitored regularly, and comments will be forwarded to appropriate checkoff representatives immediately upon receipt.