Telling Beef’s Story Critical to Industry
If you work in agriculture, chances are most consumers have no idea what you do. That’s a challenge, according to Gary Teague, who with his family operates a diversified livestock and farming operation in Northeast Colorado.
For years as the industry we’ve taken a hands-off approach, ‘hey, we’re going to go out here and we’re going to do what we’re going to do and do it well and we’re not going to talk about it.’ And so now we have an uninformed, uneducated consumer that we’ve really got to work back into and explain the process, as to why we do those things. (17 seconds)
Teague recently spoke at a seminar for consumers sponsored by Colorado State University and the Beef Checkoff Program through the Colorado Beef Council. He says the industry itself has to move the ball forward.
As producers and anybody associated with the industry, we’ve got to do a better job of getting out in front of the public and consumers and talk about production practices, why we do ‘em, what we’re doing, what the benefits of what we actually do are to the consumer. And I think that if we do that. And I think if we do that it will help all of us. (20 seconds)
According to Teague, the Beef Checkoff Program can play a role in this.
Just like the checkoff back in the 80s, where we went in and we looked at what the problems that consumers were seeing, we surveyed those consumers and found out what needed to be done and went and looked at that. We can do the same thing here. Let’s go out and talk to the consumer and find out what their concerns are and then go about addressing those concerns through research and through education. (19 seconds)
State beef councils all over the country are helping to tell the industry’s story, using the half of checkoff dollars that remain at the control of their boards. Teague says giving state beef councils and the national checkoff a role in this process is critical.
The checkoff is one of those programs where there’s huge benefits that have come out. If anything I think we should have a much stronger checkoff program because, hey, that’s the lifeblood of our industry. We’re selling a product. We need to have an educated consumer to sell that product to. And the checkoff is the easiest way to do that.
The Beef Checkoff Program collects $1-per-head on bovine animals at the time of sale, with Qualified State Beef Councils allowed to retain 50 cents of each dollar for in-state, national and international checkoff programs at their discretion. The checkoff is administered by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board with oversight provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.