18 NATIONAL CATTLEMEN
T H E
F E D E R A T I O N
STATE BEEF COUNCILS
Building beef demand by inspiring, unifying and supporting an effective state/national checkoff partnership.
State Beef Councils Participate in Annual Meat Conference Sessions Representatives of 11 state beef councils active in beef retail outreach and education efforts participated in the 2015 Annual Meat Conference in Nashville, Tenn., in late February. In addition, the national Beef Checkoff Program helped develop two educational sessions for more than 1,000 meat retail attendees during the Conference, which is sponsored by the North American Meat Institute and the Food Marketing Institute. Following the conference, representatives from 19 state beef councils attended a 2-day workshop at the Tennessee Beef Industry Council office in Murfreesboro to find out more about beef checkoff-funded retail and foodservice programs and discuss what they could do to provide value to retail and foodservice partners through the beef checkoff. At the Annual Meat Conference, the beef checkoff sponsored a session called “The Changing Face of Supermarket Foodservice and the Keys to Long-Term Success.” At the session, information was presented on the growing opportunity beef has with supermarket prepared foods. Supermarket prepared foods are those found in parts of the grocery store where consumers can pick up ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat meats at service counters or grab-and-go areas. Also at the conference, Season Solorio, executive director of Issues and Reputation
Chef Hana Colvin, executive chef for the Burger Bar & Bistro in Murfreesboro, Tenn., explains the many different kinds of burgers the restaurant features to state beef council executives at their workshop in Tennessee.
Management for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, participated in a panel discussion that focused on communicating about modern agriculture and sustainability. The panel brought together the entire agricultural supply chain and covered multi-species, including a pork farmer, a packer and retail and foodservice consultants, to talk about the challenges each segment of the supply chain has in debunking myths like factory farming and communicating that modern agriculture today is more sustainable than in the past. In addition, the beef checkoff hosted a beef lunch to provide selected retailers with an inside look at the beef market and supply, market intelligence, issues monitoring and culinary opportunities. “This was a key opportunity for the beef checkoff to reach a select group of retailers that help us market and move product,” according to Jennifer Houston, Federation of State Beef Councils chair, who attended the lunch. “The attendees had a unique opportunity to spend one-on-one time with industry experts to gain intelligence that will help them better sell more beef.” Houston is a livestock market operator from Sweetwater, Tenn. Beef councils from the following states sent representatives to the Annual Meat Conference: California, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. “It was great to be in a setting that allows us to build relationships with retailers we deal with on a regular basis – as well as those we’d like to,” according to Russell Woodward, senior manager of channel marketing for the Texas Beef Council. “The conference allowed the beef industry to share ideas with retailers and foodservice operators for marketing beef more effectively that they could take back and implement in their own operations.” “The Annual Meat Conference is a chance for the broader beef community to get together,” says Rob Noel, director of channel marketing for the Washington State Beef Commission. “It’s also a rallying point for those who want to market beef more successfully.” Keynote speakers at the event included Randy Blach of CattleFax, who provided a clear and concise forecast in a well-attended session, giving attendees a foundation for checkoff-based efforts at the event. A workshop specifically designed for state
beef council staff who focus on retail and foodservice was held immediately following the Annual Meat Conference. Twentyfour staff members from 19 state beef councils attended this annual workshop to gain more insights about the retail/ foodservice environment, learn more about the retail/foodservice strategic framework, engagement and content resources. The workshop served as a valuable moment for the state and national teams to come together, exchange knowledge and share success stories. In addition to the states mentioned above, beef councils from
Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania attended the workshop. “It was valuable to learn where we’re headed in terms of promoting beef through retail and foodservice,” according to Kaye Strohbehn of the Minnesota Beef Council. “More than that, though, it was great to have an opportunity to engage with our national team members, as well as our counterparts in other state beef councils, to find ways to work together and leverage our resources to help build beef demand throughout the United States.
Twenty-four staff members from 19 beef councils attended a workshop following the Annual Meat Conference in February at the Tennessee Beef Council office. The workshop allowed the state professionals an opportunity to gain more insights about the retail and foodservice environments for beef.
Video Explains Beef Prices
A new checkoff-funded video has been created to help educate retail and foodservice operators about the reasons for beef price increases and communicate beef’s importance to their businesses. The video, Beef Prices Explained, shares the complex dynamics of beef supply in a simple, informative and entertaining approach. The tool was developed by the integrated marketing team at NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, in direct response to requests from influencers and state partners for a resource to educate their executive teams and customers on the factors that have led to higher beef prices and the timeframe for the beef production cycle, in a format that is shareable and concise. The video reassures operators that consumer demand for beef is strong, and the beef community is responding to economic signals by expanding their herds to build a pipeline for increased profitability. The video debuted the first week of March, and has received over 1,400 views to date. The video is part of the Checkoff’s broader integrated value strategy that includes a sample Q&A and customizable account presentations to enable national and state checkoff staffs to serve as trusted counselors with influential stakeholders about the value beef brings to every segment of the beef supply chain. The resources are also used in responding to media inquiries to help position the checkoff as a knowledgeable source for information on current market conditions and marketing opportunities. The video can be accessed and shared at www.youtube.com. (Search Beef Prices Explained).
Federation Role in Memorandum of Understanding By Jennifer Houston, Federation Chair and Steve Hanson, Federation Vice Chair
When the Federation passed its support of the efforts of the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group (BCEWG) at the 2015 Annual Meeting, some may have perceived that we had voted in
favor of the group’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). That’s not what happened. Here is the motion: “The Federation Division of the Board of Directors supports the work of the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group and that the Federation continue as a resource in this process.” In fact, the Federation was not allowed to vote on the MOU – nor sign it. We are not allowed to lobby, since we’re funded with checkoff dollars, and the MOU will require urging Congress to change elements of the checkoff Act & Order. We will not do that. Still, state beef councils through the Federation deserve a place at the BCEWG table – as a resource, so that those on the BCEWG know the facts about,
and the history behind, the checkoff. For instance, during previous discussions of the group it was the Federation that helped provide information on the effects checkoff collection changes would have on state beef councils. The BCEWG is an industry-led and industry-focused entity, with no connection to the Federal Government. The government doesn’t have a seat at, or input on, efforts by the group’s members – all of whom have a direct stake in the Beef Checkoff Program. Those members worked hard to come up with a compromise that would benefit all members of the beef industry who invest in the checkoff. One step it took early on was to ask USDA to open checkoff program
implementation opportunities to more industry groups. It did this by eliminating the requirement that the organizations had to have been in existence when the checkoff started. It was a move that was widely hailed at the time as a step in the right direction. We remain committed to helping the BCEWG understand who the Federation is, what it does and how we got where we are today. This includes the role of state beef councils in the national program. As a resource, we can play a critical role in making sure moves made by the group are made with a complete understanding of what impacts will be made on state beef councils and the Federation by their actions.