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Study: Beef checkoff returns $11.20 on every dollar

Tim Hearden

Capital Press

Ranchers who serve on the 103-member Cattlement's Beef Promotion and Research Board expressed enthusiasm about a return-on-investment study done by Cornell University researcher Harry Kaiser. The study asserted that each dollar spent on checkoff programs returns $11.20 to the industry.

Kim and Ira Brackett have long believed in the value of the Beef Checkoff to producers.

A cow-calf and stocker operator with land in Idaho and California, Kim Brackett is chairwoman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which oversees the checkoff.

But they experienced the checkoff’s value firsthand this summer when one of their cows suffered burn marks from a wildfire that moved through their land in Modoc County, Calif. The family relied on advice from the checkoff’s Beef Quality Assurance program to deal with the animal, Kim Brackett said.

The Bracketts have no problem believing a recent study funded by the board that asserted each dollar spent on the checkoff program between 2006 and 2013 returned about $11.20 to the beef industry, though Kim Brackett said she was a little surprised by the number.

“I’ve been involved in the checkoff for a number of years, and my husband and I have always felt the checkoff was important for producers,” she told the Capital Press. “To get the results of that study … is just amazing. It’s a phenomenal investment for producers.”

The study by Cornell University researcher Harry Kaiser and released during the beef industry’s summer convention in Denver, Colo. on July 31 was billed as the most comprehensive ever done on the return on investment of beef checkoff assessments.

The checkoff assesses $1 for each head of cattle sold and uses the money for research and promotion of beef.

Kaiser said during the conference he looked at each of the checkoff’s demand-enhancing activities — generic beef advertising, channels marketing, information-sharing with those within the industry, new-product development, public relations, nutrition research, beef-safety research and product-enhancement research.

Among Kaiser’s findings:

Without beef board-funded marketing between 2006 and 2013, total domestic beef demand would have totaled 15.7 billion pounds, or 11.3 percent less than it was with the programs in place.

If there hadn’t been foreign-market development under the checkoff, foreign demand for U.S. beef would have been 6.4 percent lower.

“Your investments into the national Beef Checkoff program are providing a benefit-cost ratio that any business would be proud to claim,” Kaiser said on the beef board’s website.

Checkoff programs “have resulted in higher prices for both beef producers and importers as well as a higher volume of beef sold in the U.S. and foreign markets and a higher net revenue for U.S. cattlemen than they would have experienced without the checkoff investments,” he said.

Kaiser’s results were a marked contrast from another beef board-commissioned study in 2009, which reported a return of $5.55 on each checkoff dollar. But Kaiser said that study only looked at domestic retail data for a five-year period.

The study along with strong cattle and beef prices created an air of optimism during the three-day beef industry conference, organizers said. Visalia, Calif., rancher Ted Greidanus, who chairs the checkoff’s Evaluation Committee, said in a statement he knows that Kaiser’s research methods are well respected and that he is confident in the analysis.

“This really tells us that we’re on the right track with how we plan our checkoff programs,” he said. “We are accountable to beef producers and importers who fund the work that we do with checkoff dollars, so we wanted to know how much difference we were really making in the marketplace, good and bad. And I must say that I am quite pleased at how good the news really is.”

Online

Beef Checkoff return-on-investment study: http://www.beefboard.org/evaluation/files/ROI%202014/FINAL%20REPORT(1).pdf



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