Beef Checkoff Approves FY17 Plan of Work
Operating Committee forced to make more than $5 million in cuts from proposals
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 of beef promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications in fiscal 2017, subject to approval by USDA.
In action concluding its Sept. 13-14 meeting in Denver, 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 percent from the $44.8 million fy16 budget. Six contractors brought a total of $43.2 million worth of funding requests to the Operating Committee this week, $5.3 million more than what is available from the CBB 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,” Anderson said, “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. 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 beef organizations for funding through the FY17 Cattlemen’s Beef Board budget, as follows:
- National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (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)
National Livestock Producers Association (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 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- 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, including, 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 following: ASEAN region; Caribbean; Central America/Dominican Republic; China/Hong Kong; Europe; Japan; Korea; Mexico; Middle East; Russia/Greater Russian Region; South America; Taiwan; and new markets.
$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; maintenance of a seamless partnership with state beef council producer-communication efforts; and producer attitude research to determine producer attitudes about and desires of their checkoff program.
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 of his final Operating Committee meeting as a CBB 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.”
Separate from the authorization requests, other expenses funded through the total $40.7 million 2017 CBB 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. Fiscal Year 2017 begins Oct. 1, 2016.
Operating Committee Member and Federation Director Austin Brown might have summed it up best in his final comment of the difficult meeting: “For the record, this was NOT fun.”
For details about the proposals considered by the Operating Committee this week, visit the Meeting Center onwww.MyBeefCheckoff.com.
UNDERSTANDING THE BEEF CHECKOFF PROGRAM
The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States may retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.