Beef Promotion Operating Committee cuts $2.9 million to meet budget constraints
The Cattlemen’s Beef Board (Beef Board) will invest about $40.3 million into programs of beef promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 if the recommendation of the Beef Promotion Operating Committee is approved by US- DA, following review by the full Beef Board.
The Operating Committee—including 10 members of the Beef Board and 10 members of the Federation of State Beef Councils—approved checkoff funding for a total of 42 “Authorization Requests,” or proposals, for checkoff funding in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2012. The committee also requested full board approval of a budget amendment to reflect re-categorization of the FY2013 budget in accordance with the programs approved.
“We really had a tremendous task before us,” said Beef Board and Operating Committee Chairman Wesley Grau, a cattleman from New Mexico. “We had to find ways to cut nearly $3 million from the proposals presented to us for checkoff funding in the coming year.”
Among the cuts in program proposals was a $300,000 cut from consumer advertising; $100,000 from nutrition research; a $275,000 proposal for programming about the beef industry on America’s Heartland on PBS; a $100,000 cut from the national Beef Quality Assurance program; and a total of more than $811,000 in cuts from various foreign-marketing proposals.
“It was a stressful process,” Grau said, “but I am just so pleased with how members of the committee dug in and made the tough decisions. In the end, I think the producers and importers who invest in their beef checkoff will be proud of the Plan of Work the Operating Committee has moved forward. We are leveraging every checkoff dollar to meet our goals the best we possibly can with the limited budget we have.”
Seven national beef organizations, serving as check-off contractors and subcontractors, had proposals approved by the Operating Committee, and the number of proposals and dollar amounts approved are as follows:
•National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (20 programs totaling about $29.9 million)
•U.S. Meat Export Federation (13 programs totaling about $7.4 million)
•Cattlemen’s Beef Board (one program totaling $1.5 million)
•American National Cattle- Women (two programs totaling about $600,000)
•Meat Importers Council of America (three programs totaling $475,000)
•North American Meat Association (two programs at $415,000)
•National Livestock Producers Association (one program at $25,000)
Broken out by budget component, the FY2013 Plan of Work for the Cattlemen’s Beef Board budget includes:
• $16.78 million for promotion programs, including consumer advertising, retail marketing, foodservice marketing, new product and culinary initiatives; a Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative to build demand in densely populated northeast states, and veal marketing and communications. • $6.76 million for research programs, focusing on a variety of critical issues, including beef safety research, product enhancement research, human nutrition research, and market research.
• $3.74 million for consumer information programs, including a northeast public relations initiative, national consumer public relations, the 2013 National Beef Cook-Off, a “Telling the Beef Story” speakers bureau, including the National Beef Ambassador Program, and nutrition-influencer relations.
• $4.11 million for industry information programs, comprising beef and dairy-beef quality assurance programs and dissemination of accurate information about the beef industry to counter misinformation from anti beef groups and others, also referenced as “issues and reputation management.”
• $7.42 million for foreign marketing and education efforts about U.S. beef in the ASEAN region; the Caribbean; Central America/Dominican Republic; South America; Europe; the Middle East; China/Hong Kong; Japan; Mexico; Russia; South Korea; and Taiwan.
• $1.5 million for producer communications, which includes producer outreach using paid media, earned media, direct communications, and communications through livestock markets and state beef councils.
Other categories funded through the 2013 Beef Board budget include $179,000 for evaluation, $200,000 for program development, $453,000 for USDA oversight (increased by $150,000 because of estimated costs of defending recently filed litigation against the beef checkoff); and about $1.97 million for administration, which includes costs for board meetings, legal fees, travel costs, office rental, supplies, equipment, and administrative staff compensation. FY2013 begins Oct. 1, 2012. — WLJ