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Checkoff’s safeguarding work helps me sleep better at night

Livestock Industry Opinions
Apr 21, 2017
by WLJ

I’m a fourth-generation beef producer at Y Bar Ranch near Tilden, TX. We have a cow/calf operation with F1 Braford cows and a Brahman herd. Our ranch is home to many different enterprises, as I’m sure yours is. We run yearlings, have a guided hunting operation, grow perennial warm season grass seed, have gravel pits, run a trucking company and have honeybees.

Through our guided hunts, we introduce individuals and corporate groups to the beef world. It’s how we can personally tell our story about beef production.

Unfortunately, not everyone can hear the story from us. That’s why I think the beef checkoff’s work on safeguarding beef’s image is so important.

We’re proud of the product we produce and the work we do, but when I’m

out on the ranch, it’s hard to respond to inaccurate information about beef and beef production that makes its way into social media and the news. But what makes it easier for me to sleep at night is knowing that our checkoff is responding directly to consumers, mainstream media and others with easy-to-understand, fact-based information that sets the record straight.

The Beef Checkoff Program has put all the tools in place to help safeguard you and our beef community from misinformation, misperceptions, and crises situations.

Improving consumer confidence

Our checkoff works daily to help consumers understand how we raise beef. Through research, planning and thoughtful action, it provides the truth that shuts down vast amounts of misinformation before it ever reaches the public. And if it can’t be headed off in advance, the checkoff is ready to respond with facts, science and the right spokespeople when misinformation does reach the public. You might hear it called “issues management” or “reputation management” or something like that; and there’s a lot more strategy and engagement to it than most folks could imagine.

Furthermore, the checkoff’s market-research efforts identify what issues are on consumers’ minds. When that is combined with listening to digital and social conversations about beef and real-time tracking to understand what consumers are talking about, there is a coordinated effort to answer questions about beef issues or misinformation that is making a public appearance.

Protection from misinformation is key to the long-term success of our ranches and farms – especially considering consumers’ growing demands for transparency of cattle and beef production practices. The checkoff helps us be responsive to consumers’ values and needs without putting our work on the line. Consumers want the truth that makes them comfortable with every step of the process and the final beef product, and that’s what the checkoff provides through its safeguarding process. — Steven Mafrige, Cow/calf Producer, Tilden, TX

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