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Copyright © 2016
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Beef Checkoff Provides Updates

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2016) — The Beef Checkoff Program shared its updates with producers and beef industry leaders Thursday, Jan, 28 at the Cattle Industry Annual Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Trade Show in San Diego.

Long-Range Plan Task Force

Don Schiefelbein, co-chairman of the Long-Range Plan Task Force started off the session, noting the success of the Long Range Plan.

He said the plan met or exceeded many of its goals. The image of beef is actually getting better, he added, but there’s always room for the beef industry to improve its communication to consumers.

“When somebody puts on a cowboy hat, they’re independent to do things the way they want to,” he said. “It’s very important to listen to the other 98%.”

Schiefelbein shared an analogy coined by his daughter to help illustrate what it’s like for consumers trying to understand where their beef comes from.

“When they are in the dark, what do they see?” the girl had asked her father. “They see the boogeyman. Everything they hear must be bad.”

So, what’s the quickest way to eliminate the boogeyman? Turn on the light.

“As an industry, we have got to be willing to turn on the light,” he said.

Schiefelbein said beef producers can’t be worried about privacy. We have to promote and strengthen beef’s value. That’s his goal for the Long-Range Plan in 2016.

U.S. Meet Export Federation

Next up was Greg Hanes with the U.S. Meet Export Federation (USMEF). Hanes said U.S. beef production is increasing as Australia’s market contracts due to drought. To displace the competition in the Japanese markets, the USMEF is developing new cuts and recipes to share with Japanese consumers.

A survey published in the Nikkei Marketing Journal in Japan revealed that U.S. beef ranked No. 5 out of 35 beef brands surveyed by consumers based on 16 questions about taste, safety and marketing. U.S. beef was No. 1 for public relations and customer service.

Hanes noted that U.S. beef is recapturing share in the export market, and that this could have huge impacts for United States’ beef producers.

Cattlemen’s Beef Board

Lynne Heinze spoke on behalf of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, highlighting producer communication in the beef industry.

Social media followers of @mybeefcheckoff are up 81%, consumer reach is up 119% and engagement is up 314%.

Meat Import Council of America

Director of Promotions Jennifer Orr shared updates for the Meat Import Council of America.

Orr said one of the most prominent goals of 2015 and 2016 is to engage in deeper, more meaningful relationships with consumers. The Meat Import Council focuses its attention on consumer relations through events and outreach.

Antibiotic Stewardship Meetings

Katie Ambrose with the National Livestock Producers briefed listeners on the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s (NIAA) antibiotic stewardship meetings conducted last November in Arkansas. The theme of the meetings was “From Metrics to Management.” The meetings explored the usage of antibiotics in animal and human medicine, and focused on specific areas that can be measured in order to verify the progress made in reducing antimicrobial resistance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Tom Chapel went into more detail on the topic of antibiotic stewardship. Chapel said attendees to the NIAA meetings were given the opportunity to “sit down and say these are the metrics that matter to me.” Each group came up with a list of measures that mattered most to them, resulting in four different metrics Chapel and his colleagues will look at going forward.

More information on these surveys can be found at

American Farm Bureau Foundation

The American Farm Bureau Foundation (AFBF) offered a unique experience to help bridge the gap between urban folk and agricultural producers. AFBF created an “on the farm author experience,” offering urban authors the chance to apply for one of 10 positions to meet with a farmer or rancher for lunch, followed by an open panel discussion.

The program received 34 applications for the 10 positions, including Shennen Bersani, a writer from Brooklyn, N.Y. Bersani’s only experience with agriculture was her “illegal garden on her balcony fire escape in Brooklyn.”

Bersani was impassioned by the experience, calling farmers and ranchers “the original environmentalists,” and claiming that the experience “far exceeded” her expectations.

Scott Stump, education consultant with AFBF, said the organization had more than 200 applicants for 20 slots to participate in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum program developed by AFBF. Applicants included students from five of the largest school districts in the country, including Los Angeles, Orange County and the Bronx.

Veal promotion was the topic of discussion for the North American Meat Institute (NAMI; formerly the American Meat Institute, or AMI). Michelle Rossman highlighted collaborations with blogger Cindy’s Table and the “Eat Better. Eat Veal.” promotion.

Wrapping up the beef checkoff’s updates were NCBA’s Mandy Carr Johnson, Rick Husted and Season Solorio. The three covered topics ranging from the impacts of antibiotic resistance on human health, new beef products and the beef checkoff’s social media presence.

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