The Beef Promotion Operating Committee approved an additional $8.042 million in checkoff funding to supplement beef promotion, research and information programs for fiscal year 2001. Approval of the additional funding brings the FY2001 checkoff budget to $53.225 million.

"These actions expand efforts to achieve key beef industry goals, such as enhancing beef's convenience and competitive position in the global market, as well as enhancing its nutritional perception," said Dan Hammond, an American Falls, ID, cattle feeder and chairman of the Cattlemen's Beef Board. "In addition, these actions also address beef industry long-term food safety goals and work to preserve consumer confidence in the safety of U.S. beef in light of the prevalent media coverage of foreign animal diseases," such as BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) and foot-and-mouth disease, said Hammond, who also chairs the Beef Promotion Operating Committee.

The Operating Committee was created by the Beef Promotion and Research Act to coordinate state and national checkoff programs. Ten of its members are elected by and represent the Cattlemen's Beef Board, while its 10 other members are elected by state beef councils to represent them. The Operating Committee approves national checkoff contractors and their program plans in the areas of promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications.

The Operating Committee approved an additional $2.72 million in promotion to continue building consumer awareness and trial of new convenient beef products and further promote the 2001 National Beef Cook-Off and its prize-winning beef recipes. In addition, supplemental promotion dollars will also promote underutilized cuts of veal.

The Committee approved $2.275 million to supplement beef research programs, such as beef safety research geared at reducing the incidence of environmental pathogen introduction in the beef production chain and supporting the work of the Beef Industry Food Safety Council to establish a task force on BSE. Other research includes an effort to enhance the eating quality of lower valued muscles from the chuck and round through flavor research and profiling. Human nutrition research funding will aid efforts to determine the health benefits of beef lipids, demonstrate beef's role in providing key nutrients, and examine beef's role in diet and cancer prevention.

Additional consumer information funding in the amount of $2.55 million was approved to continue media relations work, such as educating reporters and consumers about the safety of U.S. beef and advancing beef's positive nutrition story. This includes gaining additional coverage of beef's new youth nutrition spokesperson, Olympic figure skating hopeful Sasha Cohen.

Finally, the Operating Committee approved an additional $497,000 to expand foreign marketing promotions for U.S. beef in Hong Kong/China, Korea and Mexico.

USDA must approve each individual proposal and the CBB must approve the
budget amendment request to fund these programs before work can be done.

Cattlemen's Beef Board