The Iowa Beef Industry Council at 42
DENVER - Nancy Degner, executive director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC), appreciates the many different aspects of her job. And at the top of her appreciation list are the cattlemen and women who have served on the IBIC board of directors over the years.
“The beef council has always had truly dedicated boards. They’re willing to give countless hours to serve as checkoff custodians on behalf of their fellow beef producers. They’re very serious about making wise decisions with Iowa’s 50-cent share of the $1 checkoff,” Degner explained.
Established in 1970, IBIC was an early contributor to the Beef Industry Council (BIC) of the Meat Board, which began managing national beef promotion in 1963. Iowa was in the vanguard of beef councils that saw the benefit of pooling state funds and supporting a coordinated statenational marketing strategy. Today beef councils invest in the Federation of State Beef Councils, which functions in the role of the former BIC.
In 2011-2012, the IBIC collected $3.4 million in checkoff assessments and, per federal law, sent 50 cents to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board for national and international programs. Generally Iowa sends 20 cents of its 50-cent share back to the Federation, to strengthen overall checkoff efforts, including international marketing, which is a program priority of the IBIC board, Degner explained.
Iowa is a one-hat state, meaning checkoff activities are managed by the beef council. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, with 9,600 members, is a separate organization. However, the two groups share office space and do partner on some projects, Degner explained.
Perhaps their best-known joint effort is the governor’s annual charity steer auction at the state fair. IBIC and ICA have led this event for 30 years, raising more than $2 million for state Ronald McDonald Houses. The 2012 auction raised the most amount of money ever, and the top steer was the highest-selling in auction history.
Another popular IBIC/ICA promotion is the annual state “best burger” contest. The 2012 event received 212 nominees from 4,250 individuals, Degner said. The deliciously fun event works to highlight beef and build restaurants’ business. The 2012 winner, the Coon Bowl III, a diner/bowling alley in Coon Rapids, reported a 30 percent growth in sales just from being in the Top 10 last year, Degner added.
Iowa Claims to Fame
• IBIC was the first beef council in the country to reach 200 Masters of Beef Advocacy graduates
• The Hot Beef Sundae IBIC helped create for cattlemen to sell at the 1986 state fair made national news and is now a popular fair food around the country. Some 24,000 were sold at Iowa’s 2012 fair.
• Iowan Morris Larson, Spencer Livestock Sales, is the 2012 Beef Quality Assurance Marketer of the Year.
IBIC at a Glance
Board Makeup: At least 15, in a mix of appointed and elected representatives
Federation Board Seats: 5
State Checkoff History: Producers approved referendums every four years from 1970-1986.
First assessment: 10 cents a head on slaughter cattle