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Agricultural News

Beef Federation Chairman Happy with Organization's Progress During His Tenure

Wed, 05 Feb 2014 14:29:46 CST

Beef Federation Chairman Happy with Organization's Progress During His Tenure
Richard Gebhart from northeastern Oklahoma is wrapping up his year as the chairman of the Federation Division of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. He spoke with Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays at the Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville. He said it has been an eventful year and said he is pleased with the efforts he has seen this year to raise the visibility of the Federation and how it assists beef councils all across the United States. (Click on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story to hear the full conversation.)

"The Federation is an independent organization. The executive committee just reviewed our doctrine and documents about that and reaffirmed those. And we're happy where they stand. I think the board of directors may do the same at the directors' meeting on Friday."

The Federation directs about half of all beef checkoff dollars. Gebhart says the organization has been working in close concert with the Beef Board in order to keep adequate dollars flowing to key projects. He said his is most proud of the working relationships fostered between the organizations which helps checkoff dollars go farther.

"Those dollars, as they get fewer and fewer, become more precious. I think it's more important for us to use them very effectively and very efficiently."

Some smaller beef industry groups have aired complaints about the Beef Board and how it implements the checkoff program. Gebhart said he is pleased with the oversight the board has received from the Office of the Inspector General.

"I am extremely happy with the efforts the Federation has made in the last four years starting way back with Scott George, to make sure that we live with the firewall. We hired an independent review and audit compliance guy. It is foremost in our mind that we don't cross that thing."

Gebhart said that most important thing to beef producers out in the country is maintaining the control of the checkoff by the qualified state beef councils.

"We can never sacrifice that. I think our representation on the operating committee is half of it with the Federation being allowed to select half of that. And on the Cattlemen's Beef Board, we select half of that- But there's more fundamental strategic directions that we've changed in the last several years that, I think, are even more important."

One of those strategic changes, Gebhart said, is their targeting of the Millennial Generation as the next wave of beef consumers and focusing on reaching them with social and digital media. He said they are using a lot of survey data, now, to confirm that the strategies implemented by the Federation are actually having their desired impact on the consumer.



Richard Gebhart talks to Ron Hays about improvements in the Beef Federation.
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