“We want beef to be the protein of choice, and we want the entire U.S. beef industry to be trusted and respected for its commitment to quality, safety and sustainability,” says Kim Brackett, an Idaho rancher and leader of the Beef Industry Long Range Plan (BILRP) task force.
That group unveiled its plan for 2021-25 at the Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting in Denver. The BILRP — updated every five years since 1995 — is designed to help the beef industry establish a common set of objectives and priorities.
It communicates the industry's strategic direction and offers insight to how the industry can serve stakeholders by growing beef demand.
Try this on for size. By 2025, the goals are to:
* Achieve a Wholesale Beef Demand Index, as calculated by CattleFax, of 124. For 2019, the index was 115.
* Grow packing capacity by 7% (7,000 head per day).
* Grow U.S. beef exports to 17% of U.S. beef production.
* Of all cattle-producing states, 75% will be participating in a nationwide animal disease traceability program (e.g., U.S. CattleTrace).
* Quantify the existing public research funding for beef industry production issues, and grow that funding by 25%.
* At least 75% of producers will agree that the beef industry is effectively addressing opportunities and challenges in a way that enhances the business climate for beef.
Along the way:
* Maintain a cow herd of 30 million to 31 million, with a growth target of 32 million to 32.5 million head.
* Grow Beef Quality Assurance certifications by a cumulative total of 10% per year, and achieve national standardization of the BQA program by 2023.
Those are all specific goals — just some of them — addressing these six core strategies:
- Drive growth in beef exports.
- Grow consumer trust in beef production.
- Develop and implement better business models to improve price discovery and value distribution across all segments.
- Promote and capitalize on the multiple advantages of beef.
- Improve the business and political climate for beef.
- Safeguard and cultivate investment in beef industry research, marketing and innovation.
In turn, those strategies address four main objectives:
- Grow global demand for U.S. beef by promoting beef's health and nutritional benefits, satisfying flavor and unparalleled safety.
- Improve industrywide profitability by expanding processing capacity and developing improved value-capture models.
- Intensify efforts in researching, improving, and communicating U.S. beef industry sustainability.
- Make traceability a reality in the U.S. beef industry.
Planning is key
“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable,” said Dwight D. Eisenhower, a two-term U.S. president and former commander in chief of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II.
Leaf through previous industry long-range plans and you’re struck by how prescient the plans were, and how committed the subsequent industry efforts.
You might recall the two decades of demand purgatory endured by the beef industry, which lost about 1% of consumer beef demand for each of those years until about 1998. Planning and long-range plans were part of the subsequent tide-turning.
The defined mission of the new long range plan (beeflongrangeplan.com): “Ensure the long-term prosperity of the U.S. beef industry by sustainably producing the most trusted, highest quality and consistently satisfying protein for consumers around the world.”