CENTENNIAL, Colo. — The Beef Promotion Operating Committee has recommended a $45.8 million Cattlemen’s Beef Board budget for fiscal year 2009, reflecting a 6.6 percent decrease from the $49 million budget for 2008.
The 2009 budget for the beef board, which administers the national checkoff program, must be approved by the full beef board and USDA.
“We faced some very difficult decisions last week as we tried to decide what areas to make cuts in,” said Cattlemen’s Beef Board Chairman Dave Bateman, a producer from Illinois.
“This came on the heels of even steeper cuts last year, and costs keep increasing so it’s getting extremely challenging to find more places to cut back without eliminating the checkoff’s effectiveness in any particular area.”
The biggest cuts came in the areas of promotion and consumer information, while producer leaders did recommend increasing checkoff investments in foreign marketing by 11.2 percent as overseas opportunities expand.
Before making their recommendation May 15, members of the operating committee spent several days with state beef council executives and leaders of the checkoff’s joint checkoff committees, as those groups developed strategies for investing the limited checkoff dollars in the most efficient manner possible in fiscal year 2009.
Members of the joint budget committee and the beef board executive committee also weighed in on the week’s discussions and recommendations.
At the core of sometimes-emotional debates during the planning sessions was funding for consumer advertising, which has become increasingly difficult in recent years because of growing costs for all media advertising, at the same time that checkoff collections have decreased.
Funds from the beef board for national checkoff programs in fiscal year 2009, will be augmented by about $10.5 million in voluntary contributions from state beef councils to their national Federation of State Beef Councils, a division of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
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