Have You Herd…
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Getting Up Close and Personal with Ranch Life
Health professionals and other “influencers” are a major source of information to consumers about how food is raised. With that in mind, the checkoff hosted 20 influential health professionals on a tour at J.D. Hudgins Ranch in Texas on Oct. 19. The group included registered dieticians, sports nutritionists, authors, bloggers, and more, in town for the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo. Participants experienced firsthand how beef is raised today, touring the ranch and speaking with fifth- and sixth-generation cattle producers. Half of the participants had never even been on a farm or ranch before. During the tour, influencers posted photos and shared what they were learning through social media, using the hashtag #ontheranch and yielding more than 250 Twitter mentions and more than 608,000 positive Twitter impressions in two days.
Beef industry proves its sustainability
The checkoff-funded beef industry sustainability assessment was certified last month by the National Standards Foundation (NSF), proving that the beef industry has improved its sustainability over time. This first-of-its-kind life cycle assessment (LCA) provides benchmarks on economic, environmental and social contributions in the United States and a roadmap for the journey toward a more sustainable beef industry.
The Beef Checkoff Program contracted with BASF Corporation North America and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct this ground-breaking work that examines the sustainability of the entire beef supply chain from pasture to plate.
The U.S. beef industry is one of the most complex biological, economic and social supply chains in the world. As a result, measuring these complex, interrelated systems is difficult but critically important to the stability of the entire industry. Increasingly, our customers at home and abroad are asking questions about beef ’s impact and sustainability. We now have science-based answers to those questions, allowing the industry to better tell the story of beef and defend beef ’s image globally.
FY14 Checkoff-funded Veal Programs
The Veal Issues Management (VIM) and Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) programs are designed to support and enhance the efforts of the veal marketing and promotion team by articulating the veal industry commitment to producing safe, quality veal utilizing responsible and science-based on-farm practices. Both programs are designed to ensure effective ongoing producer education and engagement around veal practices and standards that build consumer and customer trust and confidence in veal. FY 2014 funding has been approved to enhance both programs as outlined below:
VIM: Ongoing monitoring and analysis of the public discussion of veal products and practices to prepare for and develop proactive response to emerging veal issues as necessary. In addition, VIM will review and update, as necessary, existing materials, messages and other engagement tools to ensure positive stakeholder outreach. Regular updates to www.vealfarm.com will provide veal farmers, veal partners and the public with credible information about today’s veal.
VQA: An advisory committee representing the veal community, researchers and other animal care experts will review and revise the existing training and certification program to ensure it meets today’s standards and reflects the most current science and research related to the care of veal calves. VQA has not been revised since 2004 and the current effort will seek to include current science, guidance and best practices related to veal calf care, including group housing which has been embraced by a number of veal farmers since the last update. Once the committee has completed the work of reviewing and updating the program, new testing, certification and outreach materials will be developed and shared with veal farmers and others.
Maintaining public trust and confidence in veal products is vital to ensuring veal producers and veal partners have the best opportunity to positively position veal products in the retail and food service marketplace. Proactive engagement through both VIM and VQA will provide that support in FY 2014. Please contact NAMA to learn more about these programs or how to participate in VIM and VQA efforts.
Veal Activities Update
North American Meat Association (NAMA), contractor of the beef checkoff, is working closely with agencies to get all the necessary organization completed to have a good solid foundation for veal planning, executing and communicating to ensure success all around.
To follow is an update on those activities:
- Finalizing the transition of documents and information from NCBA
- Examining the strategy as it relates to messaging, visuals, copy and content for overall veal marketing programs
- Formulating the consumer research strategy to include retail and food services audience groups, questioning, methodologies, best practices review, etc.
- Working on the first large retail promotion for January, with an update ready by November 15 and ready for sell in to retail
- Working on food service strategies, promotional concepts, recipe development, educational materials, and a partnership with a NE regional chain for testing new recipe ideas, consumer research, and social media marketing promotions.
- Just completed a social media calendar for the remainder of the year, that will be approved and shared
- Working on the first social media promotion for late November/December featuring veal for the holiday which will be shared with all
- Moving veal domains over to NAMA
- Working on a website refresh for veal made easy including an audit of all digital properties and SEO best practices
- Researching best trade communication publications for possible veal advertising and communication
- Researching Millennial trends for recipe development, messaging, content, positioning, etc.
- Auditing current recipes, photography, videos for necessary updates