Audio with Steve Hanson, Chairman
Beef producer leaders went to work in a different way last month when beef checkoff committees reviewed beef checkoff Authorization Requests – or ARs – during the 2016 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting in Denver. Steve Hanson is a beef producer from Southwest Nebraska and chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils. He says the beef producers on these committees at these kinds of meetings are able to weigh in on the direction and content of programs conducted on their behalf to increase demand for beef.
“This is grassroots input. They listen to what the contractors present. They have some expertise in their areas. And then our grassroots people, producers, they have the opportunity to provide input into these ARs, and we hope we give them a good direction. And then we send these to the Operating Committee in September. But this is our chance to have influence.” (21 seconds)
In about a month another group of 20 producers – the Beef Promotion Operating Committee – will take the next step in determining what kind of programs will be funded in fiscal 2017, which begins October first.
“Roughly in the second week in September, the Operating Committee will look at the ARs, look at the scoring that the committees have put forth, and then they will use that as one of the tools in the toolbox to either fund or not fund these ARs.” (165 seconds)
Hanson says it will be an especially difficult task for the Operating Committee next month.
“This year we are approximately four million dollars short at the Operating Committee level of funding all of the ARs that we have, so this will be a tough year. The input that the stakeholders have, the producers have right now, is going to be big, in determining what gets funded. The OC has some really tough decisions to make, and I feel confident that they’ll make them. But driving that demand deal, that’s one of the biggest things that we can do.” (23 seconds)
According to Hanson, it’s this kind of grassroots participation that makes the Beef Checkoff Program so compelling.
“Each producer there has a stake in what happens. And if we can drive this demand needle a little ways, we can increase the value of that product. And that’s what it’s all about, keeping those families on the farms and on the ranches, and that’s what we’re trying to do.” (13 seconds)
The Beef Promotion Operating Committee is made up of producers elected from the Federation of State Beef Councils and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Projects approved by the committee and conducted by contractors must be approved by the Beef Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.