CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Earlier this week, national beef checkoff leaders approved a Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) budget of approximately $40.7 million for Fiscal 2014 — a 5.6 percent decrease from the Fiscal 2013 amended budget, due to continued tight supplies and an expected slowing of cow slaughter. The 2014 budget recommendation, however, still must be approved by the full Beef Board, which administers the national checkoff program, and by US Department of Agriculture.

During separate conference calls on June 4, the CBB Budget Committee, the Operating Committee and the CBB Executive Committee each reviewed their respective portions of the proposed budget. CBB explained the budget is based on projected beef checkoff assessment revenues of $39 million in the coming year, down a little from 2013. It also incorporates an estimated $1.7 million in FY13 funds returned from programs coming in under budget for the current year, plus funds the Operating Committee decided last September to carry over from FY13 revenues to counter the revenue decline expected in FY14.

The approved budget for the fiscal year running Oct. 1, 2013 – Sept. 30, 2014 includes more than $37.9 million for the Operating Committee — made up of 10 Beef Board members and 10 directors of the Federation of State Beef Councils — to assign for funding of national checkoff work plans for promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications budget categories of the CBB budget. It also incorporates $2.8 million to fund a CBB administration and USDA oversight budget approved by the executive committee, as well as program development and evaluation expenses approved by the operating committee.

“We continue to have budgetary challenges before us, as we knew we would,” said CBB Chairman Weldon Wynn, who is also Operating Committee chairman. “But we’re just really optimistic that the changes we’ve made in the structure of our checkoff committees this year will help us be more efficient than ever with every checkoff dollar we invest through the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.”

A Beef Demand Determinant Study contracted through the Joint Evaluation Committee is going to provide some additional direction to help the checkoff prioritize its investments solidly on efforts that stand to further the goals of the Beef Industry Long Range Plan most effectively, Wynn said. It will rank demand drivers in order of importance to consumers and the checkoff’s ability to influence them, so that Beef Board members and Federation of State Beef Councils directors serving on joint program committees understand what programs would benefit most from increased — or decreased — emphasis in checkoff work plans.

Wynn believes members of the Beef Board and Federation of State Beef Councils who sit on joint program committees this year will have exciting proposals from potential checkoff contractors under the new checkoff structure.

In coming weeks, individual joint program committees and subcommittees will review preliminary work plans during conference calls. They then will meet in Denver Aug. 7-10 to prepare recommendations and priorities for specific work plans to submit to the Operating Committee, which will consider those work plans for funding with the FY14 budget during its meeting Sept. 24-25.