Amongst the flood of information available to cattle producers and the media attending the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix a few weeks back was the results of the latest survey of beef producers regarding their thoughts on the beef checkoff. The checkoff has done this survey for many years in an effort to gauge producer reaction and concerns about the program.
The survey, conducted by an independent third-party firm, found that 74% of producers surveyed approve of the beef checkoff program. That’s 5% higher than last year. What’s more, beef producers are generally more optimistic about the cattle business than they were a year ago.
The survey also revealed, as it has consistently in the past, that the more producers know about the beef checkoff, the more supportive they are.
That’s because, in my opinion, the beef checkoff continues to do remarkable things to support beef demand. Unfortunately, at least as far as our awareness of how it spends your dollars, much of that work involves a strong social media presence and conducting research and rolling out the results to the health and food professionals who need to know the many good things about beef that the checkoff can tell them.
The beef checkoff hasn’t funded consumer-facing television and magazine ads for many years. Those ads were often the best way for producers to know what the checkoff was doing.
That’s likely what’s behind the 43% of producers who say they remember having seen, read or heard information about the beef checkoff in the past six months. That’s down from years past.
But overall, beef producers are pleased with the performance of the checkoff:
--76% say the beef checkoff has contributed to a positive trend in beef demand
--78% say the checkoff has value even when the economy is weak, 5% higher than last year
--65% say the checkoff contributes to profitability of their operations
--71% say the checkoff represents their interests, 4% higher than last year
--61% believe the checkoff is well-managed
I began my professional career in this business about the time the second (if memory serves) attempt to forge a national beef checkoff program was voted down. I was still pretty green when the campaign was approved that gave us our current $1-per-head program. BEEF supported the effort then and continues to support the beef checkoff now.
Some readers disagree with us on that point. That’s fine. But in our editorial opinion, the beef checkoff has done an immense amount of good for beef producers. The beef checkoff has had its ups and downs and has not been without plenty of controversy. But overall, the beef business is in a much better position now because of the efforts of the beef checkoff program.
It’s reassuring to know that a strong majority of those who pay into the program agree.