A program strengthened. An industry supported. And a bright future. That’s beef raised in the Lone Star State.
Because Texas ranchers had a plan—the Texas Beef Checkoff.
It’s a plan that’s proven successful in its first year, posting a revenue of nearly $8.1 million as of Sept. 30. Refund requests totaled $279,247—just 3.45 percent of collections.
Those dollars have led—and will continue to lead—to promotion, research and education efforts for the highest-priced protein on the market.
“Research shows millennials are the largest consumer audience, and their purchases drive food trends,” said Dave Edmiston, former chairman of the Texas Beef Council (TBC) and Beef Promotion and Research Council of Texas (BPRCT). “As a checkoff program, we need to provide them with information and recipes, as well as share more about life on the ranch.”
That’s happening with an enhanced digital marketing plan.
Social media and modern websites help communicate entertaining and educational beefy messages.
That means infographics, mouthwatering recipes and nutritional facts. All shared online and available on a smartphone.
“Social media changed the game for marketing,” Edmiston said. “It’s where consumers find their information, look for recipes and share their reviews of products. We’re bringing the information to them.”
They’re also putting a face to ranchers, working to bridge the growing gap between consumers and agriculture with intriguing videos, compelling stories and captivating photos. They encourage a strong connection to the faces and stories behind beef.
Three documentaries recently released highlight Texas ranching families, their stewardship of the land and their animal care principles.
They show improvements each ranch makes—learning from mistakes and working to be better and to raise a high-quality product.
“There’s probably a more profitable way to make a living than being in ranching and farming, but there isn’t a better living to make than one from the land,” said Richard Wortham, TBC executive vice president. “These three families share their passion and determination, the same as other ranch families across the Lone Star State.”
The videos are hosted on the newly revamped consumer-driven website, txbeef.org, that was rolled out this fall. The site also features other stories, giving an inside look into the lives of athletes and restaurateurs—like a marathon-running mom and a famous chef.
It’s Texas-specific content. A culture that sells to other proud Texans.
And it happened because ranchers chose to invest an extra dollar per head in themselves and their product through the state checkoff program last summer.
That investment also led to the launch of texasbeefcheckoff.com, a fully responsive online resource for producers, media and beef industry stakeholders.
“The new website highlights the research and education efforts checkoff dollars are funding, as well as quantifies beef promotion efforts for our hardworking ranchers,” Misty Martin, TBC agriculture communications manager, said in a news release. “It’s our responsibility to communicate back to the 149,000 beef producers paying into the program.”
Producer communication and education is a priority in the top-ranked cattle state. Producers can sign up on the website for a newsletter with updates and details of checkoff-funded programs.
A digital update—which includes new videos, improved website and educational opportunities—is also in progress for Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) programs in Texas.
But checkoff funds don’t stop working there.
They help Texas ranchers have a presence in international markets.
Because demand for beef goes far beyond American grocery stores.
TBC and BPRCT have their sights set on making U.S. beef the protein of choice in overseas markets with a growing middle class.
“Our programs are getting stronger. Our partnerships have grown,” Edmiston said. “That’s important
for the Texas beef industry, because it drives profitability back to our producers.”
Those dollars—both state and national—reach a large global market, helping Texas cattlemen have higher returns and maintain their reputation as leaders in the industry.
For every dollar invested through the U.S. Meat Export Federation, ranchers see a return of $43, Edmiston noted.
That’s significant value added to a product.
And research and nutrition get a portion of the funds, too.
“To continue to grow demand, we need to keep learning about our products, what the consumers want and how we can meet those needs,” Edmiston said.
That’s where research comes into play.
Hot topics for consumers—nutrition, variety of cuts, quality and safety—have been, and will continue to be, studied through different research programs funded by both state and national checkoff dollars.
The nutrition aspects will be expanded upon in outreach with medical professionals to address concerns and reinforce lean beef as a part of a heart-healthy diet.
Engaging. Proactive. Beneficial.
State checkoff funds have a full plate and a bright future. For Texas ranchers and consumers.
“The state checkoff has the support of Texas cattlemen. It’s working for them every day while they’re working hard to handle the day-to-day operations of ranching,” Edmiston said. “The best for beef is yet to come as the checkoff programs work to support our ranchers and our rural lifestyle.”