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Beef checkoff approves fiscal 2017 work planBeef checkoff approves fiscal 2017 work plan

Operating Committee forced to make more than $5 million in cuts from proposals.

September 16, 2016

4 Min Read
Beef checkoff approves fiscal 2017 work plan

After being forced to make cuts of more than $5 million from proposed programs, the Cattlemen's Beef Board will invest about $40.7 million into development and implementation of programs for beef promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications in fiscal 2017, subject to approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In action concluding its Sept. 13-14 meeting in Denver, Colo., the Operating Committee — 10 members of the Beef Board and 10 members of the Federation of State Beef Councils — approved checkoff funding for a total of 12 “authorization requests,” or proposals for checkoff funding, in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2016. The committee also recommended full Beef Board approval of a budget amendment to reflect the split of funding between budget categories affected by their decisions.

The fiscal 2017 budget represents a decrease of more than 9% from the fiscal 2016 budget of $44.8 million. Six contractors brought a total of $43.2 million worth of funding requests to the Operating Committee at the meeting — $5.3 million more than what is available from the Beef Board budget to fund them.

"This was one of the most challenging years ever in terms of the gap between the value of proposals before us and the budget we had to invest,” said Beef Board and Operating Committee chairman Anne Anderson, a cattle producer from Texas. “I'm extremely proud of how all committee members worked together through this extremely difficult situation to make the best possible decisions about how to invest our checkoff dollars in the coming year.

“There were so many great proposals, but not nearly enough money to fund them, so we had to make some pretty substantial cuts, and I can't overemphasize how well the committee members worked together to do what we had to do to meet budget requirements,” Anderson added. "I feel confident that the plan of work we created for fiscal 2017 will put us in a position to continue increasing consumer confidence in and preference for beef.”

In the end, the Operating Committee approved proposals from six national organizations for funding through the fiscal 2017 Cattlemen's Beef Board budget as follows:

•       National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. (NCBA) — four proposals for $27.5 million;

•       U.S. Meat Export Federation, a subcontractor to NCBA — one proposal for $7.2 million;

•       Cattlemen's Beef Board — one proposal for $1.5 million;

•       North American Meat Institute — three proposals for $860,000;

•       Meat Import Council of America — one proposal for $350,800;

•       American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture — one proposal for $370,178, and

•       National Livestock Producers Assn. — one proposal for $66,500.

Broken out by budget component, the "Fiscal Year 2017 Plan of Work" for the Cattlemen's Beef Board budget includes:

•       $8.1 million for promotion programs, including continuation of the beef checkoff's consumer digital advertising program, as well as veal promotion;

•       $9.5 million for research programs focusing on a variety of critical issues, including pre-harvest and post-harvest beef safety research, product quality research, human nutrition research and scientific affairs, market research and beef and culinary innovations;

•       $7.6 million for consumer information programs, including a Northeast public relations initiative, national consumer public relations, nutrition-influencer relations and work with primary and secondary school curriculum directors nationwide to get accurate information about the beef industry into classrooms of today's youth;

•       $3.9 million for industry information programs comprising dissemination of accurate information about the beef industry to counter misinformation from anti-beef groups and others, as well as funding for checkoff participation in a fifth annual, national, industrywide symposium focused on discussion and dissemination of information about antibiotic use;

•       $7.2 million for foreign marketing and education in some 80 countries in: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region, the Caribbean, Central America/Dominican Republic, China/Hong Kong, Europe, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Middle East, Russia/Greater Russian region, South America, Taiwan and new markets, and

•       $1.5 million for producer communications, which includes investor outreach using national communications and direct communications to producers and importers about checkoff results, as well as development and utilization of information conduits, such as auction markets, maintaining a seamless partnership with state beef council producer communication efforts and producer research to determine producer attitudes about and desires for their checkoff program.

Separate from the authorization requests, other expenses funded through the total $40.7 million 2017 Beef Board budget include $221,000 for evaluation, $290,000 for program development, $325,000 for USDA oversight and about $2 million for administration, which includes costs for board meetings, legal fees, travel costs, office rental, supplies, equipment and administrative staff compensation. The 2017 fiscal year begins Oct. 1, 2016.

Beef Board and Operating Committee member Chuck Kiker has served on the Beef Board for a total of 12 years — two terms of three years each on two separate occasions — and said this about his final Operating Committee meeting as a Beef Board member: “Even though we had a tough job to do, this is the best meeting of this committee that I've ever participated in, because everyone worked together in a bipartisan manner and for the good of producers at large.”

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