The Beef Industry Long Range Plan is playing a key role in the 2011 Cattle Industry Summer Conference this week. Joint Committees and Subcommittees developing plans for the checkoff are being reminded of the strategic intent of the plan, and coming together to create synergy in achieving several of the core strategies outlined in it.
Finalized in early 2011, the Plan identifies six core strategies and goals in reaching its mission, which is To provide the safest, highest-quality, most consumer-friendly beef and beef products in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner. These strategies are: improving domestic consumer preference for beef; capitalizing on global growth opportunities; strengthening the image of beef and the beef industry; protecting and enhancing our freedom to operate; improving industry trust, openness and relationships; and positioning the U.S. cow herd for growth. Each of the core strategies either has a measurable goal or is in the process of establishing a benchmark so that a measurable goal can be set.
Proposed Beef Checkoff-funded plans are built around three of these strategies: Strengthening industry image, improving consumer preference for beef and capitalizing on global growth opportunities.
Keeping their eye on the ball, Beef Industry Long Range Plan Task Force members have already adjusted their strategic intent for the plan. Initially the plan had set out to achieve a Wholesale Beef Demand Index of 105 by year-end 2013, but due to a variety of market and economic factors the Index has already reached 110. As a result, Task Force members met by conference call July 21 and adjusted the strategic intent goal, which now is to maintain the Beef Demand Index at 110 throughout the duration of the plan.
"The Long Range Plan is a dynamic document that has firm goals," according to Charles Miller of C&J Cattle Co., one of the Task Force co-chairs. "While we need to know where we're going, we have to acknowledge there are factors that can impact us along the road."
Task Force co-chair Robert Rebholtz of Agri-Beef agrees. "It's great to have firm, measurable objectives, and we do," he says. "But flexibility is key to our ability to make meaningful and quantifiable progress."
The Long Range Plan is being used at the 2011 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, where Joint Committee and Subcommittees are meeting in an "Achieving the Long Range Plan" session prior to their regular sessions on Wednesday, Aug. 3. The combined meeting replaces those of the full Global Consumer Marketing, Public Opinion & Issues Management and Research, Education and Innovation Groups. By meeting together, committee members will gain a better understanding of the plan and an appreciation for how programs will integrate to optimize results for the industry.
"We all need to be on the same page when it comes to developing plans that will impact demand for our product," says Wesley Grau, a beef producer from Grady, N.M., and acting chairman of the Cattlemen's Beef Board. "Having a single meeting at which we can better understand where we are in the process helps us do that."
According to David Dick, a beef producer from Sedalia, Mo., and chairman of the NCBA Federation Division, the focus on the Long Range Plan's demand-related core strategies by Joint Committees will bring greater unity to the checkoff planning process. "When we can integrate and concentrate our focus on this single vision, it helps us to better deliver to the producers we represent," he says. "During these difficult times this concept is critical. By coming together we hear the same message at the same time, and are able to process it immediately in our deliberations in the Joint Committees."
During the 2011 Summer Conference, Joint Committees will approve plans of work for fiscal year 2012, which begins Oct. 1. Those proposed plans will be shared with the Beef Promotion Operating Committee in September, which will decide which efforts to fund with Beef Checkoff dollars and finalize a budget. This budget and plan must be reviewed and approved by the Cattlemen's Beef Board, which will submit it to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Ag Marketing Service for final authorization.
In addition, NCBA Policy Committees will engage at summer conference to discuss how they can best impact Long Range Plan core strategies, including the one focused on protecting and enhancing the industry's freedom to operate. The entire industry will need to focus on the remaining core strategies that involve improving industry trust and positioning the U.S. cow herd for growth.