12-13-16 Federation of State Beef Councils: Broadening Our View of Beef Promotion

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The following column was written by: Steve Hanson Chairman, Federation of State Beef Councils Member, U.S. Meat Export Federation Executive Committee Elsie, Nebraska

Broadening Our View of Beef Promotion 

You’ve heard it before: 96 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of United States borders. The statistic has been shared so often it’s become cliché.

Lesser known but equally powerful is the fact that millions of consumers in many other countries are increasing their standards of living and buying power every year. Clearly, if the U.S. beef industry is to maximize its profitability, significant focus must be placed on consumers internationally.

The Federation of State Beef Councils and our partners in state beef councils throughout the country recognize this critical point. Through our partnership with both the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the U.S. Meat Export Federation, we are allocating many beef checkoff resources in those foreign markets that have the greatest potential for increasing demand for beef. This allocation includes checkoff funds from the national half of the $1-per-head mandatory beef checkoff assessment, which is invested through the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, and the state-directed half of the checkoff dollar, which comes through individual state councils and the Federation of State Beef Councils.

On Nov. 1 the Federation Executive Committee, recognizing the struggling cattle market and the increasing supply of beef in this country, voted to reach into Federation reserves to boost beef export promotion conducted by USMEF by $640,000. The source of Federation reserves is voluntary investments from state beef councils for enhancement of national and international programs.

Of the total, $400,000 will be invested in national and regional retail promotions for U.S. beef in Japan, the largest value destination for U.S. beef. The Federation also invested $200,000 in a U.S. beef promotion with South Korean discount chains. Korea represents an increasingly attractive market for U.S. beef. Meanwhile, another $40,000 was allocated to an Asian island promotion that targets the quickly growing tourist trade in that region. All told, these promotions could move about 15 million additional pounds of U.S. beef.

The Federation Executive Committee also allocated $300,000 in reserves to a promotion targeting millennial consumers in larger U.S. cities through an app for smart phones called Ibotta, which encourages greater beef purchases in U.S. retail stores by sharing beef information with consumers and allowing them to obtain cash rebates based on their retail beef purchases. In total, the Federation is investing nearly a million dollars in short-term promotions designed to increase immediate demand for beef.

This was a prime example of the state/national beef checkoff partnership at work, and it happened at an impressive pace. Export projects were researched and recommended by USMEF, whose mission is to put U.S. meat on the world’s tables, and plans and funding were reviewed and finalized by the Federation Executive Committee, which deliberated on which projects would do the most good, and do it the most quickly.

Through my association with USMEF, I have seen how valuable our outreach to consumers in other countries can be. The nonprofit organization has offices in more than a dozen countries, and does work in more than 80 countries to develop markets for beef and other U.S. meats. They have found that foreign consumers respect U.S. beef, and will purchase it when they have the opportunity. More important, however, is that when given the opportunity the U.S. beef industry can very successfully compete in the world market.

Promoting beef to consumers – both in the United States and abroad – is important to improving our bottom lines. Working as a team of volunteers and professionals, we’re stepping up to get that work done.

– written by: Steve Hanson Chairman, Federation of State Beef Councils Member, U.S. Meat Export Federation Executive Committee Elsie, Nebraska

The Federation of State Beef Councils is a division of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), which is a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. The program is administered by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, with oversight provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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 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.