New Beef Board Chairman

Kim BrackettThe Beef Board has a new Chairman. She’s Kim Brackett, Idaho cow/calf and stocker producer.

Here’s what it means to her. You can also listen to her describe her goals in the audio clip below:

“That has been such a phenomenal evolution for me to go in what seems like a handful of years, not a long timeframe at all, to not having a very thorough understanding of the checkoff to now feeling like I understand the ins and outs of it. It’s amazing – I never fully appreciated how hard the checkoff works for me and my family and our ranch. I never understood, until I got on the Idaho beef council, I didn’t understand the scope of the checkoff working in foreign markets, I didn’t understand how they reached so many consumers on the eastern seaboard with just my dollars that I paid here in Idaho, I didn’t have a good understanding of the partnerships like I do now. And now to be stepping up and leading that, people tell me I’m the face of the checkoff and I kind of laugh that off but I take a lot of pride in that too because I’m so proud of the checkoff programs and how hard they work for us.”

Comments from Kim Brackett

Other Beef Board officers include:

Vice Chairman: Jimmy Maxey, California
Secretary/Treasurer: Anne Anderson, Texas

Small Numbers But Growing Market

nafb-13-22-editedHerd numbers are down this year in the beef community, but enthusiasm is high. Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) Chairman, Weldon Wynn was on hand at this year’s Trade Talk during the NAFB Convention. There is no doubt that the checkoff dollar is slim, but Weldon said they are making that dollar stretch.

Weldon went on to discuss our international market, how successful it has been and how much better it could be if we had the numbers. With the demand present, all we need to do now is grow our herds.

“Today in the foreign market with USMEF, one of our contractors, anytime we sell a calf we are getting back $234.00 in return for every head we are sending abroad. It’s really working in the foreign marketing end of it.”

The CBB has also put a lot of research into marketing to the millennial generation. And it seems social media marketing is key to educate this group of techies. They are sharing recipes online, answering questions via social media outlets and remembering the power of photo sharing.

The CBB and NCBA are also making final arrangements for this year’s Cattlemen’s Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. Music City will play home to the coveted event held February 4-7, 2014. Mark your calendars and plan your vacation to Nashville where you can have your voice heard on decisions that will shape your beef community.

Listen to my complete interview with Weldon here: Interview with Weldon Wynn

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Checkoff Changes Marketing Direction in FY14

BeefForDinnerMillennials and other beef consumers can now see and hear the tantalizing sights and sounds of “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” messages without putting down their mobile devices or leaving the comfort of their keyboards and social-media circles.

That’s thanks to a Sept. 25 decision by the 20-member Beef Promotion Operating Committee to make a major shift in strategic direction for the checkoff’s promotion and marketing efforts. Beginning this month, digital marketing will lead the way in sharing beef’s message about nutrition, health and research and creating a forum for consumers to publically share and celebrate their love for beef.

In recognition of the importance of marketing via electronic devices — such as smartphones, tablets, cell phones, computers and consoles – the committee approved the shift from an print and radio campaign to digital marketing via multi-media beef messages on email, blogs and social networks.

Using geo-tracking, the checkoff can send marketing messages to a very tight target audience whose preferences, food likes and lifestyles fit the checkoff’s target audience. In other words, the checkoff can pinpoint exactly who it wants to reach with beef messages.

The ability to geo-target means that producer and importer investments in the checkoff will be focused tightly on consumers who are most likely to move the needle on beef demand. Social and digital media provide the beef checkoff a clear and focused way to deliver beef-centric information, enabling consumers to select and prepare beef enthusiastically.

New National Beef Ambassadors

New Beef AmbassadorsWe have a new team of National Beef Ambassadors and here they are. This weekend the competition in Arkansas took place and I had the honor to be a judge once again even though it was from home. I’ll update this post when I get the names of these new beef agvocates.

I was a judge of the essay writing which was an issue response exercise. Juniors had to write a letter to the editor regarding this Meatless Mondays effort and Seniors on this lunacy on eating meat leading to climate change. The essays were fun to read and I can tell you we’ve got some great young representatives of the beef business!

ZimmComm is a sponsor of the National Beef Ambassador program via their blog and I encourage you to show your support if you can.

Post Update:
From left to right:

Rachael Wolters
Emma Morris
Tori Summey
Sierra Jepsen
Justana Von Tate

Beef Checkoff Sets FY2014 Plan of Work

BeefCheckLogo_w_TagThe Cattlemen’s Beef Board will invest about $38.5 million into programs of beef promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications in Fiscal Year 2014, if the recommendation of the Beef Promotion Operating Committee is approved by USDA, following review by the full Beef Board.

In action concluding its two-day meeting in Denver this week, the Operating Committee — including 10 members of the Beef Board and 10 members of the Federation of State Beef Councils — approved checkoff funding for a total of 18 “Authorization Requests,” or proposals for checkoff funding in the fiscal yearbeginning Oct. 1, 2013. 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 committee had to cut about $1 million total from proposals to meet budget requirements and, in the end, cut a total of $1.15 million.

Just one proposal submitted was cut completely, and that was a $100,000 request from the National Livestock Producers Association to help tell the beef story to consumers through participation on the established “America’s Heatland” program on public television.

The remainder of the cuts was achieved through reductions in budgets for the following programs: North American Meat Association’s veal promotion, “Moms, Millenials and More” communcation program, foreign marketing program, and Authorization Requests.

For the full report click here.

CBB Chairman Moving Forward

Weldon WynnOur Beef Board Chair, Weldon Wynn, spoke with Chuck during the committee meetings during the recent Cattle Industry Summer Conference. Weldon was enthusiastic about the new committee structure and gave a positive outlook into the 2014 budget approval.

Some committee rooms had standing room only and that can only mean that members are more excited than ever to not only simply produce beef but have a say in the structure of the industry. Dollars might be down, but Weldon said, “We are doing more with less.” And continues to say we are moving forward.

“At this particular conference what we are trying to accomplish is we come together and talk to our people all over the countryside. CBB does not represent one state. We represent all of them, about 730,000 producers out there. We come here and talk about the issues facing us, give them a chance to speak their minds and we try our hardest to work through some of these things with our committee structure we have in place.”

You can listen to my interview with Weldon here: Interview with Weldon Wynn

2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference Photo Album

2013 W.D. Farr Scholarships Awarded

cisc-13-turnerDuring the 2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, two recipients were awarded the W.D. Farr Scholarship from the National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF). THe $12,000 award recognizes superior achievement in academics and leadership and will allow the students to further their study in fields that benefit the cattle and beef industry.

Benjamin Turner is from Rapid City, South Dakota. He is a Ph.D. candidate studying Biological Sciences at South Dakota State University. He received his bachelors of science degree in Agriculture Business from Sam Houston State University. And then later received his masters of science in Agribusiness from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Over the past year Turner has been a graduate assistant for South Dakota State University in the Natural Resources Management Department. His career goals involve teaching and developing useful teaching tools, such as a textbook on ecological economics and management so that students can make better decisions of consequence under real-world conditions. Turner’s Ph.D. Dissertation is: To Plow or Not to Plow: Investigating Grassland to Cropland Conversion in the Northern Great Plains Using Systems Thinking and Dynamics. He is expected to graduate in 2014.

Listen to Benjamin’s remarks here: Remarks from Benjamin Turner

9471085097_0c2a181d3f_bJohn Wood is from Greeley, Colorado. He is a MS-MBA candidate in Food and Agribusiness Management at Purdue University. He received a bachelors of science degree from Colorado State University in Beef Production and Business Leadership & Management. For the past couple of years he has had several positions at JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding.

Wood has been involved in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Young Producers Council since 2008 and currently serves as the group’s chairman. He has also been part of many agricultural based clubs and teams. Wood’s career goals are to serve in an upper management position that allows him to employ a macro perspective as he helps lead, manage, develop and coach a high caliber team to obtain organizational objectives.

Listen to John’s remarks here: Remarks from John Wood

The National Cattlemen’s Foundation established this annual scholorship in 2007 to recognize outstanding students who plan to pursue careers in meat science and animal agriculture. W.D. Farr was the first president of NCF and also served as president of the American National Cattlemen’s Association, now known as NCBA. Farr’s career spanned 75 years in the beef industry.

Here are photos from the event:2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference Photo Album

Why Are You Here Cattlemen?

Polly RuhlandDuring the Cattlemen’s Beef Board meeting at the end of the Cattle Industry Summer Conference we heard a great speech in the form of the report given by CEO Polly Ruhland. She had a very heartfelt and powerful message which I believe shows you the quality of the people representing cattle producers on the staff of the Beef Checkoff. You will be asked a question, “Why are you here?”

Listen to Polly’s report here: Polly Ruhland Management Report

2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference Photo Album

Beef Board CEO Reports at Summer Conference

Polly RuhlandThe CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, Polly Ruhland, was on stage this morning for the second general session of the Cattle Industry Summer Conference. I talked with her afterward. She says the new committee structure and format for the conference have generated good feedback. Condensing the agenda into a shorter time frame means that volunteer leaders have to spend less time away from home for one thing.

Polly says this meeting is about strategy where “the rubber meets the road.” So committees are meeting and listening to and providing feedback to contractors about projects in progress or being proposed. She says it’s a process that includes as next steps, board approval of the budget and then work plans will be looked at by the operating committee in September. And then the process starts over again.

You can listen to my interview with Polly here: Interview with Polly Ruhland

You can listen to Polly’s report during the general session here: Report from Polly Ruhland

2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference Photo Album

Beef Was For Dinner at Buffalo Chip Campground

Legendary Buffalo Chip Campground SteakhouseI had no idea until last night that you could find a good steak and a lot more for a rustic sit down dinner at the Legendary Buffalo Chip Campground. It’s the Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s Surf-N-Turf Steakhouse located in The Historic Barn. There are other choices like lobster, chicken, ribs and huge pork chops. But I’m heading to Denver today for the 2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference. So I chose beef and it was good!

I’ll be the Beef Board Blogger for the conference and you can find most of my stories on starting tomorrow afternoon.

New Holland and NCBAI am also looking forward to the Club Blue Welcome Reception being sponsored by our friends at New Holland. New Holland also has a special deal going for NCBA members.

Exclusive Savings Offer on Equipment Built New Holland SMART!

You expect quality equipment to help you get the job done on your farm or ranch. That’s why New Holland offers SMART solutions with a full line of products to fit any operation. We’re proud to partner with NCBA to provide exclusive savings that add value to your membership.

Thanks for the work you do to keep the cattle industry strong in the United States!

You can find more here.

2013 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Photo Album

Connecting Beef Checkoff Funds With LMA

lma-13-maxeyEveryone involved in the beef industry understands the importance of the beef checkoff program. And what better time to inform producers of this beef promotion tool then during the 2013 Livestock Marketing Association’s Annual Meeting & World Livestock Auctioneer Championship.

Jimmy Maxy, Secretary/Treasurer for the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and cattleman from California, took in the event and spoke with Chuck on the importance of the two organizations working together.

“The funding that comes from the promotion of beef, comes from cattlemen and cattlemen market their cattle through livestock markets. Each time that happens it’s a source for beef promotion. It’s our job to take those funds and do the best we can with them and bring back great returns to cattlemen.”

He also added that it was a great chance to personally interact with producers, that livestock markets are a collection point for checkoff funds and it serves as a way to educate producers about the checkoff program.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Jimmy here: Interview with Jimmy Maxey

Here you can find photos from the event: 2013 LMA/WLAC Photo Album

New Beef Ad Campaign Launched

You may be seeing and hearing new “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.” advertising this summer. The beef checkoff has updated the popular campaign and rolled out new print and radio ads. Watch and learn more about the strategy behind the beef ad campaign and one of the beef producer-leaders involved.

The new campaign targets millenial and Gen-X consumers ages 25-44, and features radio ads with a new voice, actor Garrett Hedlund, who grew up on a Minnesota beef operation.

That’s the question each “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” print advertisement asks. It’s answered with bold copy highlighting the nutritional benefits of beef along with tantalizing food photography reminding the consumer that delicious can, and does go right alongside nutritious. Each advertisement calls out an individual essential nutrient, like protein: “The Strip steak has lots of protein…and your appetite’s attention.” Another ad reminds you that a dinner with beef “has iron. The most lean, delicious and tender iron known to man.”

Checkoff Launches New Advertising Campaign

Checkoff CampaignThe new “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” consumer advertising campaign is premiering this month, bringing the recognizable tagline to older millennials and Gen-Xers. The new campaign, funded by the beef checkoff, will feature sizzling beef recipes, juicy details about essential nutrients and the voice of one of Hollywood’s most promising new talents.

The new “Above All Else” campaign aims to reach the next generation of beef eaters – the older millennial and Gen-Xer, aged 25 to 44 –who care about food and nutrition.

While keeping many brand mainstays, such as Aaron Copeland’s “Rodeo” music, the new beef campaign is switching up the voice behind the famous words, “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” Sparking a new interest for the older millennial and Gen X target, Garrett Hedlund’s voice will take a starring role in the campaign’s radio spots. Garrett personally represents healthful living, and his strong, warm voice is perfect for provoking new understanding about beef.

The Blogging Beef Board CEO

sustainability-spheresThe CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, Polly Ruhland, is blogging during her 2013 Eisenhower Fellowship for International Leaders which is taking her to Japan and Taiwan. The blog is, pencilplow.

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from a cornfield.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Here’s an excerpt her most recent post from Tokyo.

Every Monday through Friday, buyers of Waygu and other extremely high-quality domestic beef for outlets in Japan visually appraise hanging carcasses at Tokyo Market, where they sell them one at a time. This is a private auction and being granted entry is difficult for outsiders (thank you again, Eisenhower network). I had an unexpected invitation that arose on the evening we arrived in Tokyo, made possible through Takeichi-san (EF Fellow 1995). Ogawa-san, president of Ogawa Chikusan Kougyou Co., the harvest facility attached to the auction, narrated a tour through the auction and the plant. The 800 or so carcasses a day move slowly down the line as a small group of buyers appraise them with flashlights illuminating the ribeye the same way meat inspectors do in the U.S. The electronic board above each carcass flashes key information (including the name of the farmer/breeder) and the bids skyrocket. This is where the most expensive, highly marbled beef in Japan sells. For occasions like weddings and other important social gatherings, this is the type of beef Japanese people want to serve their guests. And it goes out the door here daily, one single, perfectly prepared carcass at a time. For occasions or clientele with slightly lower budgets, quality U.S. beef makes an excellent substitute.

The graphic comes from the 2002 University of Michigan Sustainability Assessment (pdf). Polly uses it because she is “dedicated to improving the triple bottom line of sustainability (social, environmental, economic–or people, planet, profit) for agriculture in a country that often takes food availability and security for granted.”

New Names for Beef & Pork Cuts

PORTERHOUSE_STEAKCS5v2The National Pork Board and Beef Checkoff Program received unanimous approval from the Industry-Wide Cooperative Meat Identification Standards Committee to introduce updated Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards nomenclature for fresh beef and pork for retailers to use on pack. Changes to the beef and pork common names were the culmination of extensive consumer research which showed an opportunity for retailers to build consumer confidence in how to shop for and prepare beef and pork.

The revised nomenclature was previously reviewed by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and Agricultural Marketing Service, and retailers, packers and scale label companies were engaged in the process. The full list of the revised beef and pork common names are now available for retailers to integrate into their scale label programs on

Examples of new cut names backed by research:

· Pork Porterhouse Chop (previously a loin chop)
· Pork Ribeye Chop (previously a rib chop)
· Pork New York Chop (previously a top loin chop)

· Ribeye (previously beef rib, ribeye, lip-on, bone in)
· Tenderloin (previously beef loin, tenderloin, full, boneless)
· Porterhouse Steak (previously beef, loin, bone in)

The new cut names will eventually align with the foodservice industry as well to provide a consistent consumer perception of beef and pork at restaurants and at home.

Beef Checkoff Responds to OIG Report

BeefCheckLogo_w_TagStatement by Weldon Wynn Cattlemen’s Beef Board Chairman & Cattle Producer from Star City, Ark.: April 2, 2013

“We are gratified that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit of the Beef Checkoff Program for the years 2008-2010 identified no audit issues and reported full compliance by the Beef Board and its contractors.

“In quoting directly from the report: ‘The relationships between the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board and other industry-related organizations including … the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, complied with the (Act and Order)…. Funds were collected, distributed and expended in accordance with the legislation.’

“We are proud to receive this validation of the effectiveness of our systems and processes to safeguard producer and importer investments into the Beef Checkoff Program.

“Even with OIG’s confirmation that the Beef Board’s systems of oversight of funds are robust and effective and that its relationships with checkoff contractors are in compliance, the Beef Board maintains a mission toward continual improvement in our responsibility to producers. Since 2010, for example, CBB has operated under an intensified review and verification process, along with expanded and specific guidelines for contractors. In addition, CBB now requires contractors to provide additional information about implementation costs as they prepare funding requests, thus providing decision-makers with a more detailed understanding of project costs before approving them.

“The bottom line: Producers and importers can be assured by the OIG report and the Beef Board’s mission of continual improvement that our checkoff dollars are being invested appropriately and effectively.”

For a copy of the full report, go to OIG Audit Results

Listen To Weldon’s Statement

New Beef Board Leadership

Wesley and WeldonThe 2013 Cattle Industry Convention is coming to a close but we’ll have more stories to share over the next several days. Today was business meeting day for the CBB, Federation and NCBA.

The Cattlemen’s Beef Board now has a new Chairman, Weldon Wynn. Here’s now past Chairman, Wesley Grau, passing the gavel to Weldon.

Other officers elected were Kim Brackett, Vice Chair and Jimmy Maxey, Secretary/Treasurer. The members of the CBB Executive Committee were also announced and they are as follows.

The 12-member CBB Executive Committee includes the Board’s three officers and eight members elected at large. The CBB elected the following members to its 2013 Executive committee: CBB Vice Chairman Kim Brackett, who will serve as chairman of the Executive Committee; and members Weldon Wynn (CBB chairman); Jimmy Maxey (CBB secretary/ treasurer); Anne Anderson of Texas; Dean Black of Iowa; Laurie Bryant, an importer; Steve Irsik of Kansas; Hank Maxey of Virginia; Sugie Sartwelle of Texas; Gary Sharp of South Dakota; and Eric Smith of Alabama.

Before leaving the convention today I visited with Weldon to find out his thoughts on being elected and what he sees ahead in the coming year.

You can listen to my interview with Weldon here: Interview with Weldon Wynn

Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show Photo Album

Joann Smith Looks Back at Start of Beef Checkoff

Joann SmithOne of my favorite people from Wacahoota, FL is Joann Smith. I am proud to say that I have been to Wacahoota! Joann was the first woman president of the National Cattlemen’s Assocation, now NCBA. During the Cattlemen’s Beef Board luncheon yesterday Joann was asked to take a look back at how the Beef Checkoff was started and to offer some encouraging words to current members moving forward. Joann played a key role in bringing about the Checkoff after two previous efforts had failed. She says she learned a lot from those first efforts. I think you’ll enjoy her look back.

Joann is very proud of the job the members of the Beef Board are doing and also to all who have served over the years since the Beef Checkoff started. She encouraged members to “keep an open mind” especially when it comes to understanding what today’s consumer wants and needs.

You can listen to Joann’s remarks here: Joann Smith Remarks

Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show Photo Album

Federation Adds $6.6 Million to Checkoff Efforts

Beef producers serving state beef council boards throughout the country have chosen to supplement national and international research, education and promotion programs funded by the Beef Checkoff Program by about $6.6 million in fiscal year 2013, which began Oct. 1. The supplemental funds, invested through the Federation of State Beef Councils, are to be added to $40.3 million invested through the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) and approved by the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, which met in Denver Sept. 19 – 20. The Committee’s decisions were submitted to the full CBB and the USDA for approval.

Some of the funds from states with high cattle numbers and low populations are invested through the Federation to extend national and international Beef Checkoff Program efforts in a coordinated way. Decisions about specific programs to fund are made by individual state beef councils.

National programs are being supplemented through the Federation by $4.9 million, while international programs are receiving $1.7 in state checkoff funds.

2013 National Beef Ambassadors Announced

Erin Morrison (Minnesota), Katie Stroud (California), Emma Jumper (Arkansas), Jacquelyn Brown (Oregon) and Chandler Mulvaney (Alabama) were chosen as the 2013 National Beef Ambassador Team at the annual National Beef Ambassador competition, which is funded in part by the beef checkoff. Twenty-two senior contestants ages 17-20, were judged in the areas of consumer promotion, classroom presentation, media interview technique and issues response at the event held in Sacramento, Calif.

Photo L to R: Jacquelyn Brown, Emma Jumper, Chandler Mulvaney, Erin Morrison, Katie Stroud

Contestants from throughout the country vied for a place on this elite team of agriculture advocates and $5,000 in cash prizes sponsored exclusively by Farm Credit. Additionally five educational scholarships totaling $5,000 were given by the American National CattleWomen Foundation, Inc. and Monsanto.