STATE beef councils in Georgia and Minnesota have extended the reach of the beef checkoff program through checkoff funds made available through the Federation Initiative Fund, which helps funnel beef checkoff dollars from cattle-producing states to states with large consumer populations.
The Federation Initiative Fund is coordinated by the Federation of State Beef Councils and managed by its executive committee.
The Georgia Beef Board (GBB) utilized a $15,000 initiative fund grant to help sponsor the Georgia Nurses Assn. Conference in October, making valuable connections with key health professionals in the state.
"We were able to build lasting relationships with important health professionals as a result of our participation in the Georgia Nurses Assn. Conference," GBB executive vice president Josh White said. "Since our participation, we have had several nurses contact us for beef information to give to their patients. One nurse we got to know as a result of the event has contacted us more than once to get information for her dialysis patients, who greatly need to include more protein in their diets. Two others have asked us to come to their local nurses association to do a cooking demonstration and talk more about beef."
The Minnesota Beef Council (MBC) utilized part of a $5,600 grant to conduct a beef industry tour and two workshops for culinary students in the state to positively influence the attitudes of future chefs about beef.
Combined with a subsequent workshop conducted in partnership with Sysco Foods, nearly four dozen students and 10 future chef/instructors participated in these MBC culinary efforts, surpassing initial project goals.
MBC executive director Karin Schaefer said students involved in the MBC culinary project got a lot of value out of having direct contact with Minnesota's beef industry, and as a result, the industry received outstanding and lasting support from those who will serve beef in the future.
"The comments we received after the events were very positive, and it's been rewarding to see how much these students learned from these experiences," she said. "In addition, the interaction between the students and the beef producers at the events was a highlight. It's important that these efforts be two-sided events."
For both councils, the added funds helped expand the already strong checkoff programs in their states.
Since it was started in 2006, the Federation Initiative Fund has awarded about $2.2 million to 22 states to conduct more than 180 programs.