Team Beef members compete in a variety of activities like the Boston Marathon which demonstrate the value of beef as a nutrition source. In addition to Team Beef members competing in Boston this year, the National Beef Ambassadors were also on hand. I was very glad to learn that our Ambassadors had left shortly before the tragedy that happened there this year! The Ambassadors were also in town to participate in the John Hancock Fitness Expo where they handed out beef sticks and talked with attendees. Here’s a report on how healthy, nutritious beef is fueling the team.
The 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.”
2013 has already been a busy year for ZimmComm – the last couple of weeks especially. We already have 12 new photo albums for this year!
Because our events may be posted on different websites, and just because of the sheer volume of content we are generating that we want to share, we are working on consolidating event content on our AgNewsWire site. We have a couple of events already posted there – with links to photo albums, posts, categories, audio and even video. We want to make it easier for media, or anyone interested, to be able to locate and utilize the content we create.
It’s a work in progress – what do you think? Useful or not?
One 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
In 2011 beef checkoff dollars funded the National Beef Quality Audit and identified that producers needed to do a better job of telling their story. During the recent National Association of Farm Broadcaster’s annual Trade Talk the Cattlemen’s Beef Board shared what programs they are funding to help producers do just that.
Chuck talked with Kim Brackett, Secretary/Treasurer for CBB, she talked about resources producers can use to help answer some hard questions consumers have. CBB has flip books available through your state beef councils to help get the conversation started.
“We have invested a lot of checkoff dollars into programs focusing on equipping producers with the tools and the skills they need to engage with consumers. Have a conversation and try to answer the questions consumers have. Some of the programs we have funded are Masters of Beef Advocacy, National Beef Ambassadors and United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.”
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Kim here: Kim Brackett - Cattleman's Beef Board
Chuck also spoke with Wesley Grau, Chairmen of CBB. Wesley was excited to share how even in these tough times CBB is doing much more to help spread the word about beef.
“You know that old saying, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going.’ We are doing more with less. We are streamlining efficiencies with committees and Cattlemen’s Beef Board. I think we are following the pattern of the average producer in America and that is to buckle down and get the job done, whatever the cost.”
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Wesley here: Wesley Grau - Cattleman's Beef Board
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.
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.
On Sept. 27, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret), Chairman of Eisenhower Fellowships, announced that the organization will send eight U.S. citizens abroad in 2013 as Eisenhower USA Fellows. Among the eight selected Fellows is Polly Ruhland, Chief Executive Officer of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.
The fellowship provides Ruhland with the resources and programmatic support to create and execute an intensive four- to five-week program studying differentiation of U. S. beef in Japan and Taiwan. Working closely with beef checkoff contractor U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), Ruhland will meet and work with key industry contacts to evaluate techniques and messages that would help U.S. producers better distinguish U.S. beef in both markets.
Polly Ruhland, CEO of the Beef Board, is making a point in answer to a question during the first Beef Board business session in this photo. I spoke with Polly to get a better understanding of the new committee structure that was approved during that session.
Polly explains the process that led to the proposal for restructuring that was presented here. She says that “What the working group came up with was a structure that relies on the industry long range plan and consumer demand drivers.” It was a big step forward in focusing Checkoff work on consumer demand. Learn more about this in my interview with Polly.
Listen to my interview with Polly here: Interview with Polly Ruhland
I’ll be Beef Board Blogging once again for the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and will have stories to share here on AgWired soon. We’ve got a Beef Board Update session coming up where I’m sure I’ll get some interviews to share.
Photos are being uploaded here: 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference Photo Album
Consumers expect the beef they buy to be safe, every time. That’s why the beef checkoff supports the annual Safety Summit — to bring every segment of the beef industry together in one room to focus on ways to improve beef safety.
2012 marked the 10th anniversary of the Safety Summit and participants recognized that milestone by re-affirming the commitment to beef safety that was first pledged a decade ago.
Watch more here or on the MyBeefCheckoff YouTube channel.
There was a changing of the guard for the Federation of State Beef Councils during the Cattle Industry Convention last week after a busy year for the leadership working on changes in the Joint Committee structure between the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB).
“It’s obviously been a year of identity,” said outgoing Federation chairman David Dick of Sedalia, Missouri (pictured right). The proposal the Federation developed last year, which was approved by the CBB and NCBA during the convention, outlines how joint checkoff committees will function in the future. “Basically it allows us to start building a new committee structure.”
David says he’s satisfied with the changes that have been made and the identity that has been put forth for the Federation and he is especially grateful for his fellow executive committee members who worked many long hours over the past couple of years to make it happen.
Listen to my interview with David Dick here: David Dick Interview
One of those who has worked closely with David for the past two years is the new chairman of the Federation – Craig Uden, a cow-calf producer and feeder from Elwood, Neb. “In the Federation we act as a team,” he said. “We utilize the people who dedicate their time and efforts into making this industry better and moving the needle on beef demand and the only way to do that is with a team approach.”
The Federation is made up of the 45 state beef councils that collect the $1 per head national beef checkoff but its roots stretch back to the days of voluntary state checkoffs. “Back in the 60s, on a voluntary basis, a lot of these beef councils wanted to pool their money together, and that was kind of the basis for the Federation,” Craig said.
That cooperative spirit remains the primary mission of the Federation, the sharing of beef checkoff dollars from states that have large cattle populations, like Nebraska, with the national effort or states like New York that have less cattle but a larger consumer population.
Listen to my interview with Craig here: Craig Uden Interview
The Federation team also now includes Richard Gebhart of Claremore, Oklahoma as vice chairman. Newly elected to represent the Federation as regional vice presidents on the NCBA executive committee are Garry Wiley of Michigan, Clay Burtrum of Oklahoma and Sid Viebrock of Washington who join existing RVPs Jennifer Houston of Tennessee, Terri Carstensen of Iowa, Jane Frost of New Mexico and Becky Walth of South Dakota, as well as Richard Ayers of New York who is the new veal representative.
The CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association sees the current status of the cattle industry as the opportunity of a lifetime.
“There’s a whole lot of market signals in place for growth in this industry,” Forrest Roberts said in his report to the NCBA membership during the annual business meeting at the Cattle Industry Convention on Saturday morning. “NCBA is riding a wave of momentum.”
Forrest notes that NCBA has a strong financial and leadership foundation and the relationship between NCBA and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board is also strong. “Let me leave no doubt – we are working together very well,” Forrest said about the policy and checkoff organizations.
He outlined goals for the coming year as increasing consumer demand and proving the sustainability of cattle production, creating new trade opportunities in international markets, and pursuing the policy priorities of removing the livestock title in the 2012 farm bill and getting permanent estate tax relief.
Listen to Forrest’s report here: NCBA CEO Forrest Roberts
I also interviewed Forrest about the record attendance at the meeting of 8,217 cattle industry members. “The sense that I’ve gotten from folks all across the U.S. this week has been a lot of optimism about the future of this industry,” he said, noting that is the case even with the severe drought in Texas that helped contribute to the lowest cattle numbers since 1950. He expects to see those number go back up again pretty quickly. “I can see us maybe moving from 30 million head to 35 here in the next 5-6 years,” he said. “The demand is there for our product.”
Listen to my interview with Forrest here: Forrest Roberts Interview
National Association of Farm Broadcasting president and poet laureate Tom Steever of Brownfield Ag News impressed the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention with yet another of his original poems. Like he did at the American Farm Bureau convention, Tom wowed the crowd in his own special way.
His poetic composition for the cattle industry was on the timely topic of dust – and anyone aware of the bureaucratic battle over the regulation of “particulate matter” will enjoy Tom’s “It’s Only Dust.”
Listen to the audio here and watch the video below: NAFB President Tom Steever - Dust
Right after the conclusion of the CBB portion of the joint board meeting at the end of the Cattle Industry Convention I spoke with Chairman, Wesley Grau. Wesley says the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention has been “very positive.” The record turnout of 8,217 registered has been a sign of that positive mood in the industry. He says “everyone is moving forward to communicate” and “cattlemen agree on the need to promote beef in the United States and around the world and we’re going to take those steps necessary to do so.”
You can find more reports on Beef Board activities at the convention on the Beef Board Blog, MyBeefCheckoffMeeting.com. They include board meeting financial, evaluation committee and management reports.
You can listen to my closing interview with Wesley here: Closing Interview with Wesley Grau
They were excited yesterday when attendance at the Cattle Industry Convention beat the old record of 6,862. But people just kept coming in and registering on-site after that – adding at least another 1200 to the total by Friday afternoon. The last I checked, attendance was over 8,100.
People were still signing up when I passed through the registration area after noon today. I talked to a few of them and most were from somewhere in Tennessee, like Retha and Johnnie Marlin who drove down from Springfield, which is just about 30 miles due north of Nashville.
“This is our first, we just heard about it,” Retha told me as she was waiting to get their name badges. “Next time, we’re going to Tampa and we’ll go for the whole thing!”
The Marlins own J&J Farms in Springfield where they raise feeder cattle and ship them to Kansas. “My husband’s a banker and we’ve raised cattle for years but hopefully when he retires we can just do this full time,” said Retha.
Listen to or download my interview with Bill here: Cattle Industry Convention Attendee Retha Marlin
Kyle Bauer, general manager of KFRM radio in Kansas was the emcee of the “Best of Beef 2012″ awards Thursday morning at the Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville.
Among the many awards presented were – National Retail Beef Backer, Foodservice Beef Backer, Beef Quality Assurance, Excellence in Communications, Trailblazer, National Stocker, NCBA Top Hand Club, the Max Deets Leadership and CME Group Beef Industry Scholarship awards, and Environmental Stewardship regional winners. Check out the 2012 CIC photo album to see pictures of pretty much all of the winners.
AgWired, with our parent company ZimmComm New Media, was proud to sponsor the NCBA Excellence in Communication awards for the second year of their existence. The awards recognize communications professionals from NCBA state affiliate organizations and cattle breed associations, as well as an agricultural journalist. The recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Communications and Public Relations for a state affiliate is Carmen Fenton, director of public affairs for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) and for a breed affiliate is Angie Stump Denton, director of communications for the American Hereford Association (AHA).
Pictured with me and NCBA Communications guru Mike Deering is the winner of the 2011 Excellence in Agricultural Journalism award – Pete Crow, publisher of the Western Livestock Journal (WLJ). Crow’s family has been publishing WLJ every week since 1922.
All of the communications award winners will also be recognized at the media reception this evening.
At about 9:00 this morning, Jesse Womack from San Antonio, Texas was filling out an on-site registration form to attend his very first Cattle Industry Convention.
Little did he know that he would become the 6,836th registrant for the convention – a new attendance record that will be beat many more times over today as the line for on-site registration was still long at 11:00 am. There will likely be well over 7,000 cattle industry members here in Nashville when it’s all said and done.
Less than an hour after he registered, Jesse joined National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) president-elect J.D. Alexander of Nebraska on stage at the convention’s second general session. For being the record-setter Jesse will get free registration for the convention next year in Tampa.
J.D. noted that 2011 was a pretty good year for the cattle industry, but challenges remain ahead for producers. “I pledge to you that my top priority as your president is to do all I can to build beef demand and producer profitability. This can only be accomplished if we are allowed to operate without government intervention and, most importantly, if decisions are made to ensure future generations are able to take over our family businesses,” Alexander said. “The death tax is the biggest deterrent to young people returning to the cattle business. What we need now are jobs, a stable economy and food for a growing global population. Leaving the next generation to choose between a life they love or the inability to pay the estate tax is not something we will tolerate.”
Listen to or download J.D.’s comments here: NCBA president-elect J.D. Alexander
Wesley quoted CBB CEO, Polly Ruhland, from last summer’s meeting saying, “We are truly blessed.” He encouraged everyone to take full advantage of all the opportunities this convention provides. He says, “It’s all part of keeping our heritage alive for our children and grand children.” Saying that we’re in the middle of some changes in our industry and Beef Checkoff program he followed up with “Change is never easy but it has a reputation for being a pretty strong catalyst for growth and progress.” Wesley concluded by showing the video of past NCBA President, Steve Fogelsong, that was featured by McDonald’s. Well worth watching.
I recorded Wesley’s comments for you. His comments followed remarks from Jill Ginn, President, American National Cattlewomen: Opening Remarks From Wesley Grau
The need for more training of meat-counter employees became evident after Merck Animal Health conducted a series of consumer panels that revealed consumers identify the staff behind the counter as experts. “The consumer that goes to the retail store today still sees the person behind the counter in a white coat as the butcher and they expect them to have vast knowledge of the beef products they’re selling,” said Kyle Pfieffer with Merck Animal Health, who notes that the need for training was quickly confirmed during retailer discussions.
The Better Beef Sales program includes six video segments and takes about two hours total to complete. To learn more about the Better Beef Sales retail education program, visit www.beefretail.org.
Listen to Kyle’s comments, along with Melissa Tessitore and Trevor Amen of NCBA as they introduce “Better Beef Sales” on Wednesday at the Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville: Better Beef Sales Introduction
Watch a YouTube video about the program below: