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Agricultural News

They Won't Know Unless We Tell Them: Chuck Coffey, CBB Chairman on the Beef Checkoff's Importance

Wed, 19 Jun 2019 13:11:23 CDT

They Won't Know Unless We Tell Them: Chuck Coffey, CBB Chairman on the Beef Checkoff's Importance The following is an op-ed authored by Chuck Coffey, Cattlemenís Beef Board Chairman:

"I can honestly say inserting myself into a conversation is difficult from time to time. As a fifth-generation cattle rancher from Oklahoma, I donít take credit for things I donít earn. I donít raise havoc when things get tough. And, I certainly donít pat myself on the back when things go right. Being humble is a way of life for those of us in the agriculture industry, but sometimes humility can be our biggest downfall.

"The Beef Checkoff is one of the beef industryís greatest achievements, yet few of us talk about the many ways it has benefited producers since its enactment in 1985. One of the biggest challenges facing the beef industry today is the fact that many producers donít know what the checkoff is, what it does or how it benefits cattlemen and women every single day.

"The only way to face this challenge is head onóby having the conversation. Beef farmers and ranchers need to start sharing successes, asking questions and voicing opinions about the Beef Checkoff. There is a new generation of young beef producers who are now responsible for their familiesí operations, and theyíve never lived in a world without the checkoff. It is up to those producers who have lived both with and without the checkoff to educate them on why itís a critical part of the beef industry.

"So, how do we go about educating our fellow producers? Thereís no one-size-fits-all solution. Younger ranchers may say social media is their preferred industry resource, whereas producers like me who donít have a Facebook or Twitter account would probably rather have a face-to-face conversation or read a newspaper or magazine.

"Regardless, the call to action is the sameóbeef producers need to communicate with each other, spreading the word about how the checkoff uses their dollar-per-head investments to advance the entire beef industry. We canít shy away from engaging with those who may have opposing opinions, but instead hear their arguments and share the true wins behind the checkoff.

"For example, the Beef Checkoff is constantly identifying new and emerging market opportunities for beef in places like Asia to keep beef demand high. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Meat Export Federation, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, U.S. beef exports reached over $8 billion in 2018. The U.S. is currently Japanís largest beef supplier by value, and exports to Korea have jumped 43 percent in value since 2017 . By opening market opportunities, the checkoff is ensuring consistent demand so even when prices are down, sales can remain strong.

"Furthermore, the Beef Checkoff is investing dollars to create new, innovative and convenient beef products that align with current consumer purchasing patterns. One such product is ďBeefshi,Ē a new sushi-style concept using beef products like pastrami, roast beef and summer sausage to be enjoyed as an appetizer or a full meal.

"Those are just two of ways the checkoff is driving consumer demand. But thatís only part of the story. The Beef Checkoff is also dedicated to improving the industry as a whole, and that includes investing in producers. From the Beef Quality Assurance program and encouraging better management practices, to the lifecycle assessment which showcases the real sustainability efforts that have decreased beefís environmental footprintóthe checkoff is engaged in every sector of the industry. Weíre always looking for ways to help beef producers succeed.

"Whether youíre at the sale barn, coffee shop, grocery store or even online, make sure your fellow beef producers know itís your contribution that makes the beef industry great. Itís your superior product. Itís your time and effort. Itís your voice. Itís your dollar."



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