Source: Cattlemen's Beef Board
A survey of 1,200 beef and dairy producers nationwide was conducted in late Dec. 2010 and early Jan. 2011 by the independent firm Aspen Media & Market Research. This research found that producers’ attitudes toward the beef checkoff program are quite favorable and have improved noticeably in the past year.
Currently about three in four approve of the program, a five-point positive shift in the past 12 months. There only has been one other time in checkoff history, where approval levels have increased by at least this amount in a one-year period. The last time approval levels were this high was in 1994. Producers have consistently tended to rate the checkoff positively. In the past five years, approval levels have ranged between 68 percent and the current level of 74 percent.
“Knowledge about the checkoff continues to predict favorability toward it,” says Wesley Grau, a cow/calf farmer from Grady, N.M., and chair of the Joint Producer Communications Committee (JPCC). “Producers who are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ well informed are more likely to approve of the checkoff, particularly among those who say they are very well informed. Among this group, 86 percent approve of the program (51 percent of them strongly), while only 10 percent disapprove. This finding marks a significant 8 percent positive shift in the past year. This tells me producers are not only getting to know their checkoff but are also very satisfied with what they learn.”
To that measure, the underlying value of the checkoff remains strong: a large majority (81 percent) feels the checkoff program has helped contribute to a positive trend in consumer demand for beef; a similar number (80 percent) believe the program has value in weak economic conditions or are confident (77 percent) it is on their side during a crisis.
And, when it comes to their own operations, many producers believe the program has benefited them. A large majority (68 percent) believe it helps contribute to the profitability of their operations, up sharply from a year ago.
“A key goal as identified by the JPCC is that farmers and ranchers have a positive view of the way the checkoff is being managed. That they trust in the leadership and the decisions being made about their checkoff investment,” says Grau. “This research shows that management of the checkoff is viewed favorably with 66 percent saying they believe it is being managed well.”
A copy of the research report is available online.