Jennifer Houston Commends Beef Checkoff's Unique Partnership and Ability to Change With TimesTue, 02 Feb 2016 17:23:42 CST
Jennifer Houston has worn multiple hats for the nation’s beef producers. She has served as chair for the Federation of State Beef Councils, an organization that represents 42 of the state qualified beef councils. Each one of the state beef councils is doing checkoff work in their individual state with 50 cents from the $1 per head that collected from each animal that is sold. At the national level, the Federation of State Beef Councils and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board form the operating committee to fund national projects. She calls this a unique partnership between the states and the national level of the nation’s beef checkoff.
“We as a federation want to provide again that state and national continuity that gives them a place to invest and a place to make their efforts be more effective,” Houston said.
One challenge the beef checkoff has faced has been the drop in available funding. The buying power of the beef checkoff has dwindled since its inception in 1986. Houston said initially the checkoff used a shotgun approach in buying adverting for radio, television and print to put the message out to as many people as possible. As checkoff funds have declined with a shrinking national cattle herd, the checkoff moved to a rifle approach. She said today the beef checkoff is using a laser approach to reach beef consumers through digital advertising efforts.
Several years ago, there were concerns with how checkoff funding was being spent. Houston said today there is a strong firewall and accounting for both time and funding. She said there are numerous internal and external audits, as well as an audit by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. By the time it goes through all of the audits, Houston said those that contribute to the beef checkoff should be confident that the checkoff funds are used wisely, but also according to the act and order in how funding can be spent.
Houston and her husband own a livestock auction market in Sweetwater, Tennessee. They also run a stocker operation, commercial cow-calf herd and feed cattle. Her family has been involved with the beef checkoff since before there was a mandatory beef checkoff. Houston also has taken the Chairmanship position of the Policy Division.
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays interviewed Houston at the Cattle Industry Convention last week in San Diego. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to the full interview.
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