6/3/2016 12:00:00 AM
Federation of State Beef Councils
An Active Role in Joining the Forces
Sometimes being the chairman of an organization is little more than an honorary
position. You lead some meetings, you get new passages for your biography. I’m
thankful being chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils is much more
The role of the Federation Chairman mirrors that of the Federation itself.
We’re an organization that represents organizations – the country’s 43
Qualified State Beef Councils, to be exact. The Federation is the state beef
council voice at the national level in the beef checkoff, helping assure the
Beef Checkoff Program is a partnership between state and national interests –
which is important if you want to have a truly grassroots program.
Qualified State Beef Councils collect the $1-per-head checkoff assessment in
their states, and are allowed to keep half of what they have for research,
education and promotion programs that are identified by the boards in their
states. The remaining 50 cents is sent to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and
Research Board (CBB), which administers the national Beef Checkoff Program,
subject to USDA approval. The Federation is where we help get those halves
coordinated, assuring efficiency and effectiveness by keeping state “boots on
the ground” part of the equation.
Having served as member and chairman of the Nebraska Beef Council, I understand
how important the grassroots component of the checkoff is – and has been since
the checkoff began. There are more than 700 producers who sit on state beef
council boards, and we expect as much out of the money we spend at the state
level as we do from funds we forward on to CBB.
About 100 of the 700 producers on state boards also serve as Federation
directors nationally. Those directors weigh in by evaluating and approving
those checkoff-funded projects conducted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef
Association as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. (They also serve on
joint checkoff advisory committees reviewing all contractors and contracts that
are pieces of the checkoff.)
There’s another way state beef councils impact the $1-per-head checkoff: They
provide representatives who sit at the decision-making table for all checkoff programs.
The Federation elects 10 members of the Beef Promotion Operating Committee,
which determines how the national 50 cents of the dollar will be spent. (The
Cattlemen’s Beef Board elects the other 10 members.)
As chairman of the Federation, I act as the vice-chairman of the BPOC. Yes, in
the end I’m still only one voice of 20. But having experience with the
structure, format and intent of the BPOC, and having a seat at the head of the
table, I work diligently to make sure proposals that come before the body get
the honest, careful consideration they deserve.
As Federation Chair I also have the opportunity to serve on the executive
committee of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, which manages international
marketing programs for U.S. beef. USMEF’s mission is to increase the value and
profitability of U.S. beef and other meat industries by enhancing demand for
our products in export markets. Certainly, that’s a mission of the Federation,
When you look at the entire picture, it may sound complicated. But when you get
right down to it, the construction of the Beef Checkoff Program helps assure
that all voices are heard, and that the checkoff remains a program controlled
by grassroots beef producers who pay into the program. I’m honored to have been
chosen to lead the terrific team of producers who are overseeing the 2016-17
program of work, and have the chance to represent my fellow beef producers at
the national level.
Steve Hanson operates a family farm and ranch in Southwest Nebraska with his
son, the fifth generation on that operation.