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Checkoff's Support for Beef Demand Continues: An Update
By: Jared Brackett, Chairman, Cattlemen's Beef Board - 03/24/2020

As I watch television news reports from my ranch and listen to radio broadcasts in my truck while checking on cattle, I see the impact that COVID-19 is having on our economy, including the stock market and cattle markets. And, as a beef producer, I know firsthand how frustrating this situation is for cattlemen and women across the country. Certainly, none of us could've anticipated the circumstances we're currently facing on top of other issues that have impacted the entire beef industry over the past few years.

While I'm a beef producer first and foremost, I'm also the 2020 chair of the Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB). Our 99-member board -- consisting primarily of domestic beef, veal and dairy producers -- oversees the collection and spending of Beef Checkoff dollars. Our goal is to promote beef and increase demand, and in these uncertain times, I want to assure you that the Beef Checkoff and its contractors continue to work toward that very important goal.

We know that we must quickly reassess our 2020 plans in all checkoff program areas -- promotion, research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and producer communications. Our contractors are pivoting as we speak, changing their strategies and tactics to better address the current and future effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past few days, we contacted them to ask for updates in light of the rapidly evolving world situation. As anticipated, our contractors and subcontractors are responding accordingly to ensure beef demand remains stronger than ever.

Most are emphasizing strategies and tactics intended to encourage beef consumption at home rather than in restaurants as more areas mandate social distancing and quarantining. They're providing influencers, supply chain partners and the media with recipes, videos and other educational materials to support these efforts. Contractors and subcontractors are turning more to social media, digital marketing, updated website content, newsletters, emails and other online tools to continue delivering positive messages about beef to their intended audiences. Many are transitioning scheduled in-person conferences and expos to virtual events or rescheduling them for later this year. More detailed information on specific contractors, programs, events and initiatives is available from our new "COVID-19 Response" page at DrivingDemandForBeef.com.

The COVID-19 situation is extremely fluid, and none of us can know what next month, next week or even tomorrow may bring. That's why Beef Checkoff contractors will continue adjusting their plans over the next few weeks and months. As chairman of the CBB, I will work with our team to continue providing regular updates at DrivingDemandforBeef.com. Knowledge is power, and it's our job to make sure you are aware of how your checkoff dollars are being spent to help the beef industry adapt to this changing world.

We are all in this together, and we will rise to meet this new challenge. Please know that the Beef Checkoff and its contractors will be working diligently on your behalf to keep driving beef demand so that you can focus on what you do best: producing high-quality beef for consumers worldwide. My thoughts are with all of you, and my hope is that someday soon, we'll be able to look back and see how our combined efforts made a positive difference during this difficult time.

The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States may retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.


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