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Like many other businesses and trade groups in the U.S., the Cattlemen's Beef Board is facing another cut to its annual budget.
The Beef Promotion Operating Committee has recommended a $42 million Cattlemen's Beef Board budget for fiscal 2012, reflecting a 2.1 percent decrease from the fiscal 2011 budget and down more than 20 percent from 2007.
The 2012 budget recommendation still must be approved by the full Beef Board, which administers the national Checkoff program, and by USDA. As recommended by the operating committee on June 15, the budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, 2011 includes:
-- $17.8 million for promotion, including advertising, foodservice, retail and veal promotion, and new-product development.
-- $5.8 million for research programs, including beef safety, product enhancement, nutrition research, and market research.
-- $4.4 million for consumer information programs, which includes consumer public relations and information, outreach to nutrition influencers, and the "Telling the Beef Story" initiative.
-- $3.1 million for industry information programs, including beef and veal quality assurance and issues management.
-- $6.4 million for foreign marketing, including promotion and public-relations programs around the globe.
-- $1.8 million for producer communications, including trade advertising, media relations, and direct communications to producers about the results of their Checkoff investments.
-- $225,000 for evaluation of Checkoff programs.
-- $180,000 for program development.
-- $250,000 for USDA oversight.
-- $2 million for administration, which includes costs for board meetings, legal fees, travel costs, office rental, supplies, equipment, and administrative staff compensation.
"Once again, we're looking at doing more with less next year, " said Beef Board chairman Tom Jones, a producer from Arkansas who also chairs the operating committee. "We really depend on our evaluation process to help us make some decisions about which programs are most effective and which may be less so. But we're to the point where we are being forced to make some tough decisions about which effective programs to trim back yet again."
The budget recommendation from the operating committee -- which includes 10 members of the Cattlemen's Beef Board and 10 directors from the Federation of State Beef Councils -- matches that of the joint budget committee, which reviewed Beef Board revenue estimates for next year and mapped out the accompanying budget recommendation on June 15.
"There are a number of outstanding Checkoff programs that we would like to expand, especially with rising prices and increased competition in the marketplace," said Arkansas producer and Beef Board secretary/treasurer Weldon Wynn. "But we are absolutely required to balance the budget. To make this happen, the producer volunteers who administer our Checkoff help evaluate every program up close, balancing results against the global economic environment and consumer attitudes, then placing our investments where we think they'll do the most good to help our fellow producers and importers here in the United States in the coming year."
The CBB executive committee also ratified the operating committee's budget recommendation during its meeting on June 16. In the coming stages of the fiscal year 2012 budgeting process, the full Beef Board will be asked to approve the budget at its meeting in Orlando in August. Joint industry advisory committees and subcommittees also will meet in Orlando to prepare recommendations for specific program proposals to be funded with that budget. Those proposals then will be considered by the operating committee on Sept. 20 and must finally be approved by USDA before any Checkoff dollars may be spent.
Funds from the Beef Board for national Checkoff programs in fiscal 2012 will be augmented by about $7 million in voluntary contributions from state beef councils to their national Federation of State Beef Councils.