Federation of State Beef Councils Tackles Issues at 2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference
CENTENNIAL, CO – Reduced U.S. cattle numbers and state beef council efforts to maximize effectiveness were among the topics Aug. 8 as the Federation of State Beef Councils conducted sessions at the 2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, Colo. In addition, the Federation celebrated its 50th anniversary during the meeting, recognizing the many contributions of state beef councils to state and national beef checkoff programs since 1963.
“This was a chance to recognize the significant impact our grassroots research, promotion and education programs have made on building beef demand for 50 years,” said Richard Gebhart, a beef producer from Claremore, Okla., and chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils. “At the same time, we were able to address the continuing need of state beef councils and the national program to address some serious industry issues. It’s a true partnership between 45 state beef councils and their representatives at the national level.”
A Federation “state sharing” session Aug. 8 started the day’s events, giving state beef council representatives an opportunity to connect with other councils and national Federation Services staff about both common and unique issues. Design, IT and communications needs and challenges were identified and ideas for resolution discussed.
At the first general session, John Huston, executive vice president emeritus for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and former president of the National Live Stock and Meat Board, provided a historical backdrop for the program and his thoughts for the future of checkoff-funded beef promotion efforts to nearly 600 Summer Conference attendees. Huston said he supports the industry’s efforts to enhance checkoff resources, as long as those efforts come from the grassroots up, not from the top down. At the same time, he stressed the need for the industry to get behind the concept of “one vision, one plan, one voice.”
Huston also moderated a panel that afternoon at the Federation Forum at which state beef council executives and volunteer leadership described how their states modified their efforts in light of decreasing revenues and increasing industry promotional needs. Individuals from councils in California, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada and Texas participated in the panel to share their experiences of balancing needs with resources.
That evening the Federation celebrated its 50th anniversary of helping build beef demand through both voluntary and mandatory checkoff programs with a reception for current and past staffs and volunteers. The Federation was created in 1963 as the Beef Industry Council, which was housed at the National Live Stock and Meat Board. When the Meat Board merged with the National Cattlemen’s Association in 1996, the Federation became housed at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).
“The Federation events Aug. 8 combined a celebration of the past with needs of, and possibilities for, the future,” said Gebhart. “We’re very excited about what the Federation can do over the next 50 years to further showcase beef to our consumers.”
The 2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference was held Aug. 8-10.