OP-ED by Norman Voyles, Jr., Chair, Cattlemen’s Beef Board
As I’m writing this, we’re witnessing another potential “black swan” chain of events. The war in Ukraine, too much moisture in the Eastern Corn Belt and too little in the Western Corn Belt have significantly delayed spring planting.
These events have led to grain prices rising to near historical highs and contributed to high energy prices. According to the USDA, corn is $1.67 per bushel higher than last March. Diesel fuel is now an incredible $2.26 higher here in the Midwest than it was a year ago – and it’s gone up by even more on the East and West Coasts. Fertilizer has more than doubled its 2021 prices. Prices on inputs such as seeds and pesticides are also higher.
Yet, somehow, beef demand remains high. How is that possible with near-record retail beef prices and the numerous transportation issues we face? The Beef Checkoff has been working to consistently build beef demand over the past 36 years. And, that success is due in large part to the dedication of Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) members and our contractor partners.
By working together to develop and fund innovative promotion, education and research programs, the CBB and its contractors have used Checkoff dollars to:
- Improve beef quality through Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training for our producers and transport drivers.
- Directly educate consumers about the safety and sustainability of our beef supply.
- Inform and partner with key opinion leaders such as STEM educators.
- Conduct research to learn about consumer preferences and buying habits for all protein
sources, including animal, plant, insect or lab culture.
- Identify tender and flavorful new beef cuts such as Flat Iron and Tri Tip through muscle profiling.
- Create value in export markets for beef and beef variety meats.
To continue doing this important work, we need more involved, dedicated individuals to join the CBB.
The USDA is currently seeking nominees for the Beef Board, and a list of certified producer organizations, nomination form and information about the CBB are available on the AMS-CBB webpage. Throughout the full nomination process, the industry must conduct extensive outreach, paying particular attention to reaching underserved communities, and consider the diversity of the population served and the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the members to serve a diverse population.
A total of 39 three-year term seats must be filled next February (38 producers and 1 importer). Of those, 21 seats are occupied by members eligible for an additional three-year term; the remaining 18 have served two consecutive terms and will be termed out.
As a producer and Beef Checkoff investor, I am extremely proud of the work our contractor partners are doing, and I’m excited to see the proposals they’ll bring forward for FY23. If you know someone with a passion for the beef industry and a unique perspective to share, I encourage you to nominate them for one of our open seats. Fresh ideas and enthusiasm are essential to continue building beef demand, not just for today or even tomorrow, but well into the future.