SD Beef Industry Council Evaluates Producer Survey Results
South Dakota Beef Industry Council News Release
For Immediate Release
For more information contact:
Ron Frederick, Executive Director
605-224-4722 * firstname.lastname@example.org
Holly Swee, RD, LN, Director of Nutrition & Consumer Information
PIERRE – (July 12, 2012) The number of cattle producers responding to a survey put out by the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) may not have been as large as desired, but the attention given to their responses was considerable according to SDBIC’s Executive Director Ron Frederick.
Close to 400 producers completed a Producer Input Survey sent by mail or available online over the first five months of 2012. While that was only a fraction of the 15,000 surveys distributed to beef and dairy producers who pay into the $1 Beef Checkoff Program, Frederick says the results provide a glimpse of how SDBIC’s expenditures of the state’s portion of the $1 checkoff, and communication of its efforts, are perceived by the state’s producers. Results of the survey were discussed by directors at the SDBIC quarterly meeting June 28 in Ft. Pierre.
“When asked whether or not they had a good understanding of the Beef Checkoff Program, 63% said ‘Yes’ and 37% said ‘No’ or ‘Not sure,’” explained Frederick. “When asked if they believed the Beef Checkoff was working effectively for them, 44% said ‘Yes’ and 56% said ‘No’ or ‘Not Sure.’” Fifty seven percent said they approved of the Beef Checkoff Program, while 43% answered ‘No’ or ‘Not sure’ when asked that question.
“While the number of respondents was small,” says Frederick, “these results indicate we have work yet to do in addressing producer concerns about the effectiveness of the checkoff. “We were happy to see that the majority of those responding approve of the Beef Checkoff Program. However, the SDBIC directors understand that we need to continue working to ensure that SDBIC receives the greatest return on investment when administering the checkoff and in developing and implementing programs. We also need to better communicate how their checkoff dollars are being utilized to promote beef and counter misinformation in the social as well as mainstream media.”
Frederick says some comments submitted by respondents also indicate that there are still misconceptions on how beef checkoff dollars can be legally spent under the rules of the Beef Promotion and Research Act and Order of 1986. “We obviously need better producer communication to counter those misconceptions,” says Frederick.
In addition, he says SDBIC will look at including line-by-line specifics on budget expenditures, as well as minutes from business meetings, on its web site. Currently, SDBIC mails out a printed short version of its annual report. “Providing line-by-line expenditure information in a printed financial report and distributing it by mail to producers would be cost-prohibitive,” says Frederick. “But we will be looking at the possibility of posting this detailed information online as a way to increase transparency.”
Producers responding represented quite accurately the number of beef producers in the five regions of the state, says Frederick. Approximately 97% of the respondents were beef producers, while 2% were dairy producers. Seventy-eight percent of respondents indicated they were over the age of 50.
“We know the numbers of respondents was small, but we wanted to give producers an opportunity to provide their input into the Beef Checkoff Program and how their dollars are being utilized,” says Frederick. “While the small response does not give us a statistically accurate indication of the views of all those who contribute to the beef checkoff in South Dakota, it does provide us with a baseline from which to work. Our plan is to conduct another survey in two to three years and see if we have been able to improve in areas of concern.”
The SDBIC collects and administers the $1 beef checkoff on cattle sold in South Dakota. Checkoff dollars are utilized strictly for promotion, education or research programs. Fifty cents of every dollar is directed to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board for programs on the national level. The SDBIC retains 50 cents, which is invested in additional national programs or in-state programs.
The SDBIC is comprised of three representatives from eight agricultural organizations: SD Beef Breeds Council, SD Cattlemen’s Association, SD Cattlemen’s Auxiliary, SD CattleWomen, SD Farm Bureau, SD Farmers Union, SD Livestock Auction Market Association and SD Stockgrowers Association.