Meeting at the 2015 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver on 18 July, the 16 leaders from throughout the beef supply chain discussed aggressive goals for improving the industry. The task force has been meeting since December 2014 and has goals stretching to 2020.
The single biggest objective agreed by the task force is to increase wholesale beef demand by 2% annually over the next five years. This, the leaders agreed, will require resources to be committed to four core strategies, which are: driving growth in exports; protecting and enhancing the business and political climate for beef; growing consumer trust in beef and beef production; and promoting and strengthening beef’s value proposition.
Growing exports will involve gaining access to key markets and promoting the unique attributes of US beef to foreign consumers.
Protecting and enhancing the business and political climate for beef will begin with encouraging stakeholders to become more engaged in policy concerns that threaten the overall business climate of beef production, and taking positive steps such as assuring beef’s inclusion in dietary recommendations.
Growing consumer trust in beef and beef production will include a critical focus on antibiotic use and continued investment in beef safety initiatives. The task force said the entire beef community must be engaged and collaborate with a broad group of industry partners to protect beef’s image.
Promoting and strengthening beef’s value proposition will involve investing in research that allows the industry to communicate the nutritional benefits of beef.
“While the beef industry has faced many challenges, the future holds tremendous promise for the industry,” said Don Schiefelbein, owner and operator of Schiefelbein Farms and task force co-chair. “The task force took a research-based approach to not only determine where the industry is and how we got here, but also look at the trends and issues potentially impacting the beef community so that we can be most successful moving forward.”
The task force defined the mission of the US beef industry as, “a beef community dedicated to growing beef demand by producing and marketing the safest, healthiest, most delicious beef that satisfies the desires of an increasing global population while responsibly managing our livestock and natural resources.”
“The overall vision of our task force has been straightforward,” said John Butler, CEO of Beef Marketing Group, a task force co-chair. “Recognising the growing demand among the world’s middle class for high-quality protein, we want the US beef industry to responsibly produce the most trusted and preferred protein in the world. At this pivotal point in the US beef industry’s history, we need to focus our energies and limited resources on those areas that can provide our industry the best results.”
In addition to Butler and Schiefelbein, members of the Beef Industry Long Range Task Force are: Jerry Bohn, general manager, Pratt Feeders LLC; Kim Brackett, owner/operator, Brackett Ranches; Tom Brink, owner/operator, Top Dollar Angus; Donnell Brown, owner/operator, R.A. Brown Ranch; Barry Carpenter, CEO, North American Meat Institute; Lynn Delmore, Ph.D., meat safety and quality consultant, adjunct professor, Colorado State University; Barbara Stevenson Jackson, owner/operator, Animal Health Express and Red Rock Feeding Company; Molly McAdams, Ph.D., retail and food industry consultant; Kevin Pond, Ph.D., department head, Animal Sciences, Colorado State University; Bill Rishel, owner/operator, Rishel Angus; Brad Scott, owner/operator, Scott Brothers Dairy; Eric Smith, owner/operator, Xtra Ranch; Tim Starks, owner/operator, Cherokee Auction Market; and Jay Theiler, executive director, marketing, Agri Beef Company.