S.D. Beef Council finalizes $3.7 million budget

Farm Forum

PIERRE – Directors of the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) have passed a $3.7 million-budget for fiscal year 2014, slightly larger than the $3.3 million budget passed one year ago. One reason for the increase, says SDBIC Executive Director Ron Frederick, is the decision to increase the investment in state-to-state promotion partnerships.

Directors passed the 2014 budget during the SDBIC’s annual meeting September 14 in Brookings. The state’s beef council, which is responsible for collecting and administering the $1 beef checkoff on all cattle sold in South Dakota, is required to direct 50 cents of every dollar to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board for programs on the national level. The SDBIC retains 50 cents, which directors can choose to invest in in-state programs and/or enhance national program investments.

For the past several years, says Frederick, SDBIC has partnered with high-population/low cattle-number states-especially in the northeast. “The Northeast region,” says Frederick, “represents just 6% of the total beef checkoff collection but nearly 25% of the U.S. population, and more than 26% of the nation’s annual grocery purchases.”

Those statistics have convinced SDBIC that partnering with these states is a good investment, explains incoming SDBIC President Karla Pazour. Pazour, a Pukwana beef producer, says that the council’s directors understand that states like New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia simply do not have the checkoff dollars to provide promotional campaigns that can effectively reach large numbers of consumers. “South Dakota has five times as many cattle as people,” explains Pazour. “The checkoff dollars generated in South Dakota need to reach the more populated areas.”

SDBIC will be investing $135,000-approximately one-third of the in-state promotion budget-into a variety of these state-to-state projects focused on reaching consumers as well as food influencers in the northeast region. Projects include promoting beef at the Pennsylvania Farm Show that draws an estimated 585,000 attendees, and holding a Beef Boot Camp and New York Beef Farm Tour for retail, media and foodservice professionals.

In addition, promotion dollars within South Dakota will help fund a number of projects including the Beef up your Game program, reaching thousands of consumers with positive messages of beef at sporting events including University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University (SDSU) football, Sioux Falls Canaries baseball, and Sioux Falls Stampede hockey.

Frederick says SDBIC directors also increased the dollars earmarked for research this coming year. A budget of $279,000 will support five studies at SDSU that focus on food safety, product quality, human nutrition, and consumer demands.

The consumer information budget was set at $267,000 and will fund social media outreach, foodservice and retail programs as well as Team BEEF and Ag in the Classroom. Industry information, which includes funding for the South Dakota Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, will total approximately $90,000, with the producer communications budget set at $45,500. The total budget for in-state investments in 2014, says Frederick, will be $1.2 million, with support for national beef promotion, research and education at $2.4 million.