More than 50 media outlets in the Midwest interviewed Cattlemen’s Beef Board leaders this summer as part of the national Beef Checkoff Program’s producer outreach effort. The outlets, representing print, television and radio media in both consumer and trade fields, represented more than 3 million readers, listeners and viewers.

On a July media tour on behalf of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board was Nelson Curry, chairman of the Beef Board and a beef producer from Paris, Ken. On an August tour was Alan Svajgr, Beef Board vice chairman and a beef producer from Cozad, Neb. Both tours were coordinated on behalf of the Beef Board and state beef councils by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). NCBA serves as one of the Beef Board’s contractors for checkoff-funded programs.

Curry’s five-day July tour encompassed Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, and featured interviews at 22 media outlets. Topics of discussion included beef demand, BSE, nutrition, beef safety, checkoff litigation and new product development, including checkoff-funded muscle profiling research that led to the flat iron steak, among other products.

In August, Svajgr participated in a five-day media tour through South Dakota and Iowa that included interviews with 29 media outlets, reaching more than 2.1 million consumers and producers combined. He covered many of the same topics as Curry, and also was interviewed by radio, television and print reporters. 

Among Svajgr’s visits was one to the Des Moines Register, whose representative conducted a background interview for use in future stories. 

About three-quarters of the media visited reach a primarily agricultural audience, while one-quarter reach primarily consumers, according to NCBA’s Donna Moreno, director of producer outreach for the Beef Checkoff Program.

“It’s important that we reach out to media to get our message to not only consumers, but to producers who pay for the promotion, research and information programs through their $1-per-head checkoff,” according to Curry.  “And there’s no substitute for personally delivering these messages to assure a complete and individual story.  While as volunteers it takes time away from our businesses, and although it’s certainly more time-consuming to coordinate, it’s definitely an effective means of communication.”

The Midwest was the focus of 2004 media tour efforts through the producer outreach program.  Checkoff representatives will target a different segment of the country through the program in fiscal 2005.