The Beef Promotion Operating Committee approved Friday a comprehensive beef checkoff plan of work built upon consumer demand drivers including nutrition, safety and consumer enjoyment of beef. The plan would fund promotion, research and information programs in fiscal 2006 and is designed to build demand for beef using the checkoff funds of the Cattlemen's Beef Board.
After a day and a half of presentation and discussion, the Operating Committee â€“ 10 producer representatives from the Cattlemen's Beef Board and 10 members from the Federation of State Beef Councils â€“ carved out a selection of checkoff activities that it believes will create the best opportunities for cattle producers in the coming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2005. The plan must be approved by the USDA before any funds can be expended.
Contractors whose program proposals are included in the plan are the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), the American National CattleWomen (ANCW); the Meat Importers Council of America (MICA); the National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA); and the American Veal Association (AVA).
"We had a tough task to accomplish this week because we had so many great project proposals but obviously a limited number of dollars to invest," said Nebraska cattleman Al Svajgr, who serves as chairman of the Operating Committee and of the Cattlemen's Beef Board. "In the end, though, I think the committee pulled together a selection of projects that will give producers and importers who pay the checkoff the best possible return on their investment during the coming year."
According to Svajgr, the plan of work includes a balance of advertising, research and information programs designed to respond to consumer demands for convenient, flavorful and tender beef products, at the same time giving producers the information they need to maintain a safe beef supply that maintains strong consumer confidence â€“ both in their product and in their industry.
The checkoff plan of work approved for fiscal 2006 includes:
- More than $27 million for promotion. Promotion efforts will include about $15.1 million for consumer advertising efforts coordinated by NCBA, in addition to support for retail marketing; the National Beef Cook-Off managed by ANCW; foodservice marketing; new product and culinary initiatives and veal promotion.
- About $7.44 million for research projects focused on a variety of critical issues, including beef safety, product enhancement and market and nutrition research.
- A total of $5.96 million for consumer information programs, including about $2.7 million for public relations, in addition to about $471,000 for youth education and information.
- $1.46 million for industry information projects. This area includes investment in beef, veal and dairy-beef quality assurance programs, the National Beef Ambassador program, and "issues management" efforts to get out accurate information about the beef industry and counter general misinformation from anti-beef groups.
- More than $5 million for foreign marketing efforts managed by USMEF, including education programs and marketing of U.S. beef in the Caribbean, Central/South America, Greater China, Europe, Japan, Mexico, Korea, Middle East, Russia, Taiwan.
- More than $2.4 million for producer communications, which includes communications with beef, dairy and veal producers through CBB, NCBA and state beef council coordination efforts, as well as $6,200 for importer communications through the Meat Importers Council of America and $350,000 toward the "Beefmobile," a beef-emblazoned van that travels to auction barns and secondary consumer venues to share information about beef and the Beef Checkoff Program. The Beefmobile project is managed for the Beef Board by the National Livestock Producers Association.
- A separate $8.9 million in allocations from the Federation of State Beef Councils will further increase checkoff funding of the national promotion programs by $3.4 million; research by $1.2 million; consumer information by $766,000; industry information by $867,000; foreign marketing efforts by $2 million; and producer communications programs by $710,000.
Programs authorized by the Operating Committee now must be approved by USDA before any money can be spent. Contractors of the Beef Checkoff Program work on a cost-recovery basis and cannot profit from work they do on behalf of the Beef Board and state beef councils.