Wyoming Beef Council budgets Checkoff funds for upcoming year
Cheyenne — The Wyoming Beef Council (WBC) recently budgeted Checkoff dollars for the upcoming year. Tried and true programs were emphasized, as funding was tight this year.
“Some decisions were delayed. With the reduced cattle numbers we’re really having to be efficient and conscientious about how the Beef Checkoff is invested,” says WBC Director Ann Wittmann.
Two programs the WBC chose to fund are the requests submitted by the Wyoming Cattlewomen and Wyoming Ag in the Classroom.
“Both programs have great outreach and are state-wide favorites,” comments Wittmann. “They know what’s effective and what works, and since we are on such a tight budget that security and history was important this year.”
Other Beef Checkoff dollars will support 4-H and FFA meat judging programs by covering state contest costs and providing state prizes.
“Funds are also used to send kids to compete nationally. Through our involvement with 4-H and FFA we can spread the word about what the Checkoff does. It’s a way to interact with younger consumers and increase awareness while building their knowledge about the product they’re producing,” notes Wittmann.
The Beef Checkoff continues to search for more effective ways to reach consumers with the same dollars. A recent study conducted in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota assessed consumer demographics.
“We partnered with those states because the consumer demographic is similar – they’re all primarily rural states. We know consumption in rural areas versus urban areas is different, but we have never been able to put our arms around specific numbers regarding perceptions of the beef industry in those areas,” notes Wittmann.
Results found that beef is consumed at a much higher level in the five-state area surveyed than other parts of the nation. Consumer perception of the beef industry is also far more favorable than the national average.
“The results weren’t a surprise, we just didn’t have the data to back our statements before,” explains Wittmann.
Based on the survey, the Beef Checkoff is re-evaluating how it works with grocery stores.
“We are re-thinking some methods now that we know what the consumers are looking for and where they’re shopping. The research allowed us to tailor our efforts more specifically,” comments Wittmann.
She notes that the council deliberated at length over all funding proposals and the final budget will be presented at the June meeting for review and approval.
“We are being very conscientious about funding programs that best relate to our target audience in the most cost effective way possible,” says Wittmann.
Heather Hamilton is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.