As calendar year 2012 comes to a close and we reflect back on the year, it’s hard to select only a few program highlights to share because there were so many. To be brief, we bring you the Top 5:
- BOLD research: Registered Dietitians and other health professionals received factual, scientifically supported beef nutrition information following the publication of the remarkable checkoff-funded Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) research study published in January in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. News of the study reached thousands of health professionals through an educational webinar about beef’s role in a heart-healthy diet.
- Greystone Culinary Event: The checkoff hosted an exclusive culinary education seminar at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. More than 30 leading research and development chefs from nationally recognized companies attended the “beef-immersion” course and received a 360-degree education that included culinary innovation, butchering techniques, and hands-on training with alternative beef cuts.
- American Heart Association Certified Beef Cuts: Food City worked with the beef checkoff to introduce four American Heart Association certified extra-lean beef cuts that meet its criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol. The four beef cuts are the Top Sirloin (select grade); Boneless Petite Roast, Filet, Kabob, and Stir-Fry.
- US Beef Exports: Central and South America have emerged as top growth markets for U.S. beef with even greater potential for the future. Working against a global market where beef imports are generally down, the Central/South America region is up sharply through the first nine months of 2012, purchasing 57.7 million pounds of U.S. beef valued at $99.2 million, increases of 36 percent in volume and 73 percent in value over last year.
- 2011 National Beef Quality Audit: The National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) is a comprehensive survey that evaluates beef industry efforts to continuously improve beef quality. Extensive enhancements were made to the 2011 NBQA design to provide the industry with direction on factors beyond the physical characteristics of beef, such as food safety, sustainability, animal well-being, and the consequences/impacts of beef production practices.
But as we ring in the New Year we also face challenges as an industry and as a checkoff program. At their 2013 Outlook & Strategies Seminar, CattleFax stated that they expect the US cattle inventory to be 89.8 million head on Jan. 1, 2013, down over 1 million head (1.1 percent) from a year ago.
That means in 2013, your checkoff will once again be doing more with less.
“The great thing about our checkoff program is our ability to adapt to and embrace change,” says Kim Brackett, Cattlemen’s Beef Board sec./treas. and producer from Buhl, Idaho. “While we reflect back on the many program successes this past year, it’s amazing how far our checkoff investment goes and producers should be proud of that. But we also have been charged with an incredible task of providing safe, wholesome beef both in the US and outside our country’s borders, and we have to do it with fewer resources.”
Checkoff-funded market research has also found that perceptions about beef are more positive than perceptions about the way cattle are raised. This gap will be a critical, ongoing measure of the effects of communications and issues management programs designed to inform and reassure consumers about beef production. To address these ever-changing consumer needs in the coming year, the checkoff has developed a new committee structure.
“Our new committee structure will make us more focused on consumer preferences in order to achieve greater program results,” says Brackett. “We realized that this was necessary in order to maintain beef’s positive image and the image of our industry with consumers; and, we hope the synergies this new committee structure presents will help move the needle on beef demand.
“I’m both energized and excited about the possibilities in 2013 and hope every fellow producer feels the same.”
For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.