Audio with Steve Hanson, Federation Chairman
Steve Hanson, a beef producer from Elsie, Neb., was elected chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils at the recent 2016 Cattle Industry Convention in San Diego. In that role he will serve as vice chair of the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, a 20-person group of volunteer beef producers who are crucial to the Beef Checkoff program.
Hanson says the Federation plays a crucial role in that body.
“I think one of the most important jobs of the Federation is to provide 10 members to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee. And that committee is what spends the national 50 cents of the checkoff dollar. And we try to invest that wisely to build beef demand, through nutrition research, through advertising, through marketing, the USMEF, all the different facets to drive demand for beef.” (25 seconds)
According to Hanson, the volunteers who serve on the committee take their responsibilities very seriously.
“One of the things that I would hope producers realize is that when we sit on that Operating Committee, we try to make the best use of every dollar that we get, so that we can generate the greatest amount of demand. And we stretch it all the way across, and we wish we had more, but we try to make the wisest use of that dollar.” (17 seconds)
The atmosphere among all of the members of the Operating Committee is one of common purpose.
“I think one of the strongest things that we have going for us today on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee is the relationship between the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Federation. I’ve never seen it stronger. We seem to have the same goals in mind, and that is one of my thoughts, is to make this situation even stronger than it is today. We’ve got great people to work with in leadership over there; we’ve had a couple of meetings and have some more scheduled. So we’re going to be able to sit down and really negotiate what’s best for the industry as far as investing the checkoff dollar.” (31 seconds)
Hanson says the challenges remain great, but checkoff leaders must keep their eyes on the future.
“We’ve got fewer dollars coming in, and it’s costing us more money to do what we want. One of the saving graces will be the re-establishment of the cowherd. As the cowherd numbers go up we will get more dollars in. But at this stage we have to make very wise decision on investment of that dollar.” (20 seconds)
The Federation is a division of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which is a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. Projects conducted by the beef checkoff must be approved by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.