When it comes to relationships, people can be fickle.

On the one hand, it’s often easier to remember a decades-old answer to “Does this shirt make me look fat?” than the kindness from the day before.

On the other hand, trust grown over years can quickly be forgotten due to society’s what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mentality.

Even within the beef industry, it’s tempting to view the 35-year-old Checkoff with skepticism. But if you look at the many value-added ways it serves producers’ interests, you may come away with a different perspective.

Here are just a few of the things that Beef Checkoff contractors have delivered over the past few months:

Consumer trust

• The “United We Steak” campaign reached more than 283 million consumers through paid advertising, social media, earned media and influencer outreach.

• A video series featured feedyard manager Tom Fanning showing Chef Kathryn Mathis how cattle are cared for at feedyards.

• Two livestream events educated more than 1,000 educators on how beef production provides an excellent context for middle school and high school science.

• Webinars hosted by nutritionist Marianne Smith Edge provided insights to Northeast dietitians about consumers during the pandemic and sustainable food systems.

• Six new blogs were posted on VealFarm.com, including one by meat scientist Janeal Yancy, Ph.D./the University of Arkansas addressing veal and meat safety.

• Meat Demand Monitor research revealed what post-COVID vaccine consumer behavior may look like, helping the Checkoff determine the best future use of producer dollars.

Export growth

• Tracking efforts revealed November beef exports were up 6% from a year ago (largest since July 19) and export values climbed 8% year over year.

• Market development programs paid dividends in November as U.S. beef exports to China were up 700% from a year ago.

• Beef export value averaged $338.43 per head of fed slaughter (Nov. 20); 14.8% of total beef produced in the U.S. during this time was exported, much of which was underutilized cuts not popular in the U.S.

Innovation

• The holiday “drool log” commercial ran more than 50 times on the Hallmark Channel last month.

• The #WienerWednesday campaign on TikTok received more than 27 million views.

Investor relations

• “The Drive” print and e-newsletter now reaches nearly 100,000 producers with details about how the Checkoff dollar drives beef demand.

Nutrition and health

• Registered dietitians, nutritionists and nurses are advocating beef’s role in a healthy diet and affirming prepared beef’s role as a balanced protein source.

• The “Guide to Meat Processing for the Nutrition Community” helped health and nutrition experts advise about dietary needs and provided valuable details about meat consumption and processing.

• A new study showed that beef consumption is positively associated with better mental health; the companion article has been downloaded more than 50,000 times by health and nutrition experts.

Research

• The Meat Demand Monitor issued its first-ever multi-month report providing insight into consumer purchasing behaviors, demand and consumption during the pandemic.

• The Sustainability Research and Scientific Affairs program completed an update to its beef environmental lifecycle assessment in 2020; findings will be published in 2021.

Safety

• More than 75 Beef Quality Assurance educators attended a virtual event to learn about meat quality, biosecurity, foreign material avoidance and international trade from industry experts.

• The Veal Quality Assurance program provided U.S. veal farms with a clipboard outlining best management practices for calf health, nutrition and handling.

• At the annual Antibiotic Symposium, beef producers collaborated with veterinarians, animal health professionals and animal ag leaders on how to become better stewards of antibiotics while combating antimicrobial resistance.

So, what has the Checkoff dollar done lately? As you can see, quite a bit. And the best part? 2021 is just getting started!

Greg Hanes is CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. To learn more about Checkoff programs, projects, and resources, visit DrivingDemandForBeef.com.

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