Power in Partnerships
DENVER - For the past several years, the Federation leadership has been working to increase the visibility and understanding of what is sometimes called the “checkoff division” of NCBA. The roots of the Federation stretch back to the voluntary checkoff in the 1920s. They run through the birth of state beef councils in the 1950s, through the Beef Industry Council of the National Live Stock and Meat Board, and were such an integral partner in marketing beef that the organization was written into the act and order that establishes the mandatory beef checkoff.
This ongoing page in National Cattlemen helps us continue to put a “face” on the Federation and its relationship to state beef councils, which are the foundation of the checkoff. It also aims to create a better understanding of how the Federation, through voluntary State Beef Council (SBC) investments, works to strengthen the state/national checkoff partnership. The Federation augments the national checkoff program by some $10 million a year. The beef councils then become the conduit by which national checkoff programs and priorities are extended at the grassroots level.
The beef councils give us a real touch to consumers, stakeholders and influencers in the communities where they live. They are the first-line advocates for our products. They promote, educate and influence the public about beef and confront and counter negative attitudes about beef that might otherwise go answered. In turn, their ability to do this comes from programs, materials and staff expertise made possible by the national checkoff.
It’s a critical partnership that has been working for us as producers for a very long time. I personally have been involved in several projects that reached far beyond any one geographic border through the combined resources of multiple beef councils, national staff, professionally-produced materials and hands-on participation by scientists, culinary experts and other experts who conduct work on behalf of the checkoff. That makes one powerful team to speak on our behalf, I can assure you.
The Federation goes a step further by awarding grants each year for high-profile beef promotions staged by beef councils in high population areas of the country. In Nashville, the Federation executive committee awarded $181,325 for efforts in cities and states where millions of people live. It’s yet another example of pooling funds and the power of partnerships.
In trying to make our “face” more familiar to producers, the Federation board has taken several proactive steps to define its independence as a producer-led entity, while maintaining efficiencies that come from its relationship to NCBA. For more details on all that we’ve done, visit the Federation pages on BeefUSA.org. While the firewall between policy and checkoff dollars is locked in place, the Federation also retains a valuable partnership with NCBA. I’d like to thank former chair David Dick and the entire executive committee as they went above and beyond the call of duty to support the Federation this past year. Each of these individuals contributed great talent and total dedication to our efforts. I look forward to the same experience working with the 2012-2013 executive committee. I would also add my congratulations to J.D. Alexander, NCBA president, and Scott George, president-elect, who have both chaired the Federation.
We’re all in this together. I assure you that the Federation is fully committed to our part of the equation – to inspire and support a strong state/national checkoff partnership that will make the most of your checkoff dollars.
Craig Uden, Chair, Federation of State Beef Councils