Checkoff dollars used to manage issues

Oct 30, 2009
by WLJ
Checkoff dollars used to manage issues

Beef producers are increasingly finding their industries under attack from all angles, including misinformed national media articles, and environmental and nutrition activism.

Because of their role in the beef industry, cattlemen often are asked to respond to these issues— by local media, neighbors and friends, and consumers in the grocery store— all the while working their farms and ranches in the safest, most environmentally sound way they know how. And that’s why they are investing their checkoff dollars into research, science and information that can help them share their stories—and the facts about the beef industry nationwide.

“It’s amazing how much misinformation is out there and it seems as if most of it is provided by well-funded activists,” says Spencer Ellis, chairman of the Wyoming Beef Council. Ellis says, “It is important for beef producers to know that hundreds of thousands of checkoff dollars are used toward crisis preparedness, reputation management and issues management every year. However, that amount pales in comparison to some of the budgets of the industry activists.”

The Wyoming Beef Council is urging producers to draw upon their own experiences and share their stories in response to local media inquiries about antibeef charges. Nationally, the checkoff’s issues management team also works with industry partners on a coordinated response strategy when these topics arise, and mobilizes the Masters of Beef Advocacy team to help share accurate beef messages.

“There are a lot of scientific intricacies when it comes to food safety and pathogens, for example, but as producers, we all have to take the responsibility to do the best job we can to produce safe, wholesome beef for consumers,” concludes Ellis. “Participating in the checkoff’s Beef Quality Assurance program is one example of how we can do that, and keeping abreast of issues and employing our checkoff resources to respond is another.” — WLJ