Promoting beef industry in all venues
By KRISS NELSON
ODEBOLT – Promoting the beef industry at the local, state and national level has been a large part of an Odebolt area beef producer’s priorities.
Terri Carstensen has served in leadership roles for the Iowa Beef Industry Council and at the national level. She has been an Iowa representative on the Federation of State Beef Councils since 2008 and has served as Federation Region III vice president.
She and husband Kevin operate a diversified beef and grain operation, Bar V Feedlot.
For the third year, she is serving on the Beef Promotions Operating Committee, which oversees how national checkoff dollars are allocated. Committee members are chosen by beef producers and represent the entire United States.
“There are so many producers and agriculture individuals that don’t understand how check off dollars are spent,” said Carstensen. “As a producer and a person highly involved with the beef checkoff, it is upsetting when people speak or write misinformation and don’t understand the workings of the checkoff.”
One misconception, Carstensen said, is the checkoff is used for policy and regulation, “which is definitely not the case.”
She encourages anyone to ask those who are overseeing the fund about the the workings of the checkoff.
Another source of information is the website: www.mybeefcheckoff.com.
Those areas benefiting from the checkoff includes beef safety research, public relations, product enhancement research, new product development, advertising, foreign marketing, channel marketing, nutrition research and industry information.
Carstensen said every dollar invested in checkoff activities over the period 2006-2013 returned $11.20 to the beef industry producer profit, which is phenomenal.
“It is fascinating all of the areas the beef checkoff is covering,” said Carstensen. “All producers in the state and nation should be proud of what their checkoff dollars are doing for the beef industry.”
- Advertising -Carstensen said advertising is a small part of checkoff spending. Advertising has now gone digital, she said, so producers won’t see fewer ads in newspapers and magazines, as the industry is reaching out to younger generations of beef eaters through social media.
One example is the “30-day protein challenge” which started the first week of April and was designed to help consumers get their optimal amount of protein throughout the day.
In two weeks, 62,000 consumers visited www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com.
- New products -Concerning product enhancement, Carstensen said the checkoff is focused on creating new lean cuts of meat.
- Exports – U.S. beef exports is an integral part of the beef industry and has worked continuously to get the Japan import numbers to where it was pre-bovine spongiform ecephalitis.
In 2003, BSE was found in a U.S. cow, causing some foreign markets to close their doors to U.S. beef until producers could prove the fatal neurodegenerative disease was under control. However, a dozen years later, some countries are still not exporting as much U.S. beef as they once did.
“I have had the opportunity to travel the world promoting Iowa/U.S. beef,” Carstensen said. “The foreign markets are tremendously important to our industry.”
- Research – Both scientific research and consumer research are important to the beef industry, and Carstensen said an increase of the beef checkoff would be beneficial.
“A dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to,” she said, “so the spending power of the beef checkoff has dwindled.”
- Educational- From national programs, the Iowa Beef Industry Council holds culinary contests, Beef Quality Assurance meetings, advertising to the millennial, and promoting new beef cuts to retail and restaurants.
A present program that Carstensen would like to highlight is the Iowa Best Burger contest.
Restaurants are nominated by their patrons, and this year there were 4,500 nominations for 286 restaurants.
Out of those 286 restaurants, 102 nominees were new from last year. The top 10 winners will come along with the celebration of May as Beef Month.
Carstensen said there is information and great recipes on the Iowa Beef Industry Council website, www.iabeef.org.
The Iowa Beef Industry council recently voted to designate funds to go toward the National Federation Initiative Fund.
“We live in a cattle rich, people poor state,” Carstensen said. “We want our checkoff dollars to be as effective as possible.”
These dollars go to state beef councils that are “high people population” states to provide grants to help them reach today’s consumer and sell more beef.
Carstensen said she enjoys promoting the beef industry at all levels – not only a great product, but great people as well.
“The beef industry has given my husband and I so much, we are just giving back,” she said. “It is unbelievable the opportunities we have had.
“We believe in beef’s value to the consumer. We have the opportunity to work with a great group of men and women who have the same goal of building beef demand both domestically and globally.”
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