The Beef Checkoff — love it or hate it, our dollar per head is being invested in research, promotion and education, and has since its inception in 1988.
This grassroots effort enables our industry to quickly address critical issues — think of the case of the cow that stole Christmas (BSE) or the Jack In The Box incident (E. coli).
Through research, the Beef Checkoff has created new value-added cuts like the flat iron steak. The program has addressed misconceptions about red meat and its ill-conceived correlation to health concerns like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and more.
The program has worked to ensure beef remains at the center of the plate here and around the world. That has been achieved through promotional efforts at events like the Boston Marathon, farm tours in New York, nutrition and cooking preparation classes at chef training courses or beef jerky passed out at the Sturgis Rally in South Dakota, just to name a few.
Similar efforts have been made abroad, where our dollar investment works to sell cuts Americans don’t like (such as the tongue or oxtail) and get them in foreign markets where such items are considered a delicacy.
In recent months, the Beef Checkoff has come under fire with certain groups working to dismantle this program one state at a time. So instead of focusing on promotion, research and education, a great deal of time and energy has now been needed to fight for the future of these programs, and it’s a crying shame.
I’m sure I’ll get some hate mail for writing about how much I appreciate the Beef Checkoff.
Some will tell me it’s taxation without representation, but you tell me — how many of us are going to quit baling hay if a crisis were to erupt somewhere that needed addressing? Who is prepped to talk to the Wall Street Journal when they have a breaking story they are working on? Who is going to take time off to advocate in hospitals, schools and culinary institutes to keep beef on the menu? How many of us have expertise in recipe development, beef fabrication, retail marketing, media relations, climate change, nutrition and more?
I’m thankful that my dollar is being invested in a way that best utilizes the training and specialization of experts who shine in these areas and can best reach our target audiences.
All this to say, in Fiscal Year 2019, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) conducted an economic study to measure the return on beef producers’ and importers’ investments into the national portion of the Beef Checkoff program over the past five-year period, 2014-2018.
“An Economic Analysis of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board Demand-Enhancing Programs” is the resulting study from Harry M. Kaiser, Gellert Family professor of applied economics and management at Cornell University.
According to the study results, “Had there not been any domestic CBB demand-enhancing activities over the latest five-year period, 2014-18, total domestic beef demand would have been 14.3% lower than actual,” the research found.
“All nine individual CBB demand-enhancing activities (eight domestic and one foreign) had marginal benefit-cost ratios (BCRs) well above 1.0 indicating their marginal benefits were well greater than their marginal costs.
“Similarly, had there not been any CBB contribution to FAS and U.S. Meat Export Federation’s foreign market development programs over the past five years, U.S. beef export demand would have been 5.5% lower than actual in the eight foreign markets studied here.
“Collectively, the overall BCR (benefit-cost ratio) for all nine CBB activities (including foreign market development) is $11.91. In other words, an extra dollar invested in CBB activities over the period, 2014-18, returned $11.91 to beef industry producer profit.”
Read the entire study by clicking here and tell me, what is your favorite effort conducted by our Beef Checkoff program?
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.