Beef councils gather to discuss Beef Checkoff Program

Representatives of 28 state beef councils gathered near Denver Oct. 16 to 18 to learn more about national 2018 Beef Checkoff Program efforts and share their thoughts on how those programs could be expanded or extended through their states. The Partnerships in Action Conference in the offices of the NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. The checkoff 2018 fiscal year began Oct. 1.

Among items of discussion was the relaunch of the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” brand and website, with a “Rethink the Ranch” approach and new videos and promotion on social media platforms. The program went live Oct. 9 and showcases the people who raise beef, celebrates the nutritional benefits of beef for active lifestyles and provides culinary inspiration.

“This annual Federation of State Beef Councils event is a collaborative effort to kick off the checkoff program of work with enthusiasm,” according to Todd Johnson, NCBA senior vice president, Federation Services. “Our state team members and their boards of directors have come to appreciate the ways our partnership can enhance the value of the beef checkoff to those who pay into the program.”

According to George Quackenbush, executive director of the Michigan Beef Industry Commission, the conference helps communicate a seamless, coordinated state and national plan that can most effectively reach consumers with the same message in repeated ways. “The reason we put such value on this meeting as a state council is that this is where we learn what programs will be taking place at the national level, when we can expect those things to roll out and how we can extend those programs in our state,” he said. “We can really be the army that takes these programs to the audience on the local and state levels.”

Erin Beasley, executive vice president of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, agrees, saying the timing from their state perspective is perfect. “We’re actually about to get into our planning mode, so this gives us an opportunity to meet with the staff, bring all of those ideas back, then meet with our Checkoff Task Force Committee to start our planning and budgeting for the 2018 year,” she said. “The timing of this meeting, with the content and the involvement of the national staff, is absolutely integral to what we do at the state level.”

Another benefit of the conference, according to Jean O’Toole, executive director of the New York Beef Council, is the sharing that goes on between states. “You learn so much from other states and what they do,” she said. “We sometimes joke that we rip off and repurpose, but we have no hidden secrets between our councils. It’s share and collaborate based on your budgets and what you can do. It also gives you different insights. We’re all creative and have a variety of talents.”

Because she is from a state with a higher population and lower cattle numbers, O’Toole values different types of input. “Sometimes you get support financially, sometimes you just get support through information, but either way you can’t beat it,” she said. “I haven’t seen an organization like this in all my years and it’s phenomenal fun.”

“It’s great to see that we’re all singing from the same songbook,” said Chris Freland, executive director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “When you’re united you’re so much stronger than if you’re separated and going in your own direction. It also validates that you’re doing the right thing within your state, as well as making sure your state board and farmers and ranchers are represented nationally. In addition, it provides our state staff an opportunity to collaborate with those in other states who are serving in the same roles.”

According to Ann Wittmann, executive director of the Wyoming Beef Council, states with low populations and small staffs value the kind of teamwork the conference provides. “The state and national coordination are what makes the beef industry so special and so workable, especially from the perspective of a small staff state,” she said. “We have programs of our own. But what we don’t have is the beautiful imagery, the fantastic story-telling, the video images, the larger-than-life programs and programs that reach out beyond what we can do as a small state. It’s the best investment that we can make so that we all work together as a team.”

Wittmann said bonding together through an event like the Partnerships in Action Conference makes the program stronger. “The partnership between the Federation of State Beef Councils, the Federation staff, and the individual beef councils is powerful and incredibly efficient,” she said.

The Federation of State Beef Councils is a division of NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. The Beef Checkoff Program is administered by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, with oversight provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Montana Beef Council Wants to Invest $860,000 in Programs

The Montana Beef Council would like to invest $860,000 into programs of beef promotion, education, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications in the fiscal year 2018, which began Oct. 1. Programs approved could be funded through Montana’s 50 cents in-state portion of the $1 per head beef checkoff, after Montana producers provide affirmative consent to Montana Beef Council to retain that portion of their assessment.

In action concluding its Sept. 20-22 meeting in Billings, the MBC Board of Directors—all Montana volunteers, including members from nearly all segments of the beef supply chain—approved checkoff funding for a total of 26 demand-building and producer communication project funding requests for checkoff funding, in the fiscal year.

“As always, the projects that the board reviewed this year have the potential to be very impactful and made for great discussion as we determined programs that best aligned with our strategic priorities and our potential funding ability,” said Jim Taber, Montana Beef Council president, a cow-calf producer and backgrounder from Shawmut, Mont. Jim Taber was elected at this meeting as president and Kiley Martinell, a cow-calf producer from Dell, Mont. was elected as vice president. The officer terms are two years in length.

As a result of its deliberations, the board of directors preliminarily approved requests from 18 different organizations that will strive towards the mission of protecting and increasing demand for beef and beef products.

The Fiscal Year 2018 Work Plan for the Montana Beef Council includes:

 · $30,023 for in-state education programs, including American Heart Association partnerships, children’s museum presence, health professional beef education, Team Beef athletes, classroom education, farm fairs, health professional pasture to plate tour and tradeshows across the state;

· $45,500 for promotional programs, focusing on in-state tradeshows, consumer radio and digital advertising, barbecue cook-offs, a meat processor competition, a foodservice partnership and a targeted consumer event in the Northeast United States;

· $16,250 for in-state beef safety and issues management comprised of the Montana Beef Quality Assurance program, as well as disseminating accurate information about the beef community to counter misinformation;

· $30,510 for in-state producer communications, which includes producer outreach using digital and radio communication as well direct communications to producers about checkoff results;

· $260,000 for domestic consumer marketing to continue consumer outreach, digital advertising, beef safety research, nutrition research, quality research, issues management, retail support, influencer engagement and foodservice support; and

·  $113,600 for foreign marketing and education in over 80 countries including Japan, China, Latin America and much more.

Other anticipated expenses funded through the budget include $353,367 for administration, which includes office lease, insurance, equipment, office supplies, postage, telephone, Department of Livestock administration expenses, collection administration expenses, board expenses, travel for programs and producer communication and administrative staff compensation for program implementation.

Checkoff collection remains mandatory, however, the above programs will only be carried out by Montana Beef Council after Montana producers complete and return the Producer Request to Retain Beef Checkoff Assessments Form. The form can be obtained at www.MontanaBeefCouncil.org or by calling the Montana Beef Council at (406) 656-3336.

Source: Montana Beef Council

Montana Beef Council provides many benefits

Written by Kristin Larson

My last couple articles were about the timeline and planning process of the $.50 of the dollar checkoff that goes to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board for national contractors to contract for beef promotion, education, research and producer communication.  

The other $.50 for many states stays in the state it was collected in with their qualified state beef council. Montana is one of these states. The Montana Beef Council was created in 1954 by cattlemen as a marketing organization for the Montana Beef industry. It is one of 45 state beef councils.

A 12-member board of directors guides the Montana Beef Council. Council members are appointed or elected by membership organizations as follows: Montana Stockgrowers, Montana Cattlemen’s Association, Montana CattleWomen, Livestock Auction Markets, Cattle Feeders, Meat Packer/Processor, Farm Bureau, Farmers Union, Retailer, Dairymen, and Montana Angus Association.

I firmly believe it is important to have this grassroots board and allow Montana producers the voice to determine how their beef checkoff dollars are spent.Whenever you have grassroots input there is ownership and follow through, both extremely important factors for a program to be successful.

Our annual meeting is in September.  Contractors from across the state request checkoff dollars for projects. The board is split into committees that hear these proposals.  The committee discusses if each authorization request meets the criteria of the Act & Order and the Montana Beef Council’s mission statement.

The Montana Beef Council is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international consumer marketing programs (promotion, education, and research) thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers.

Each committee decides to fund the proposals and at which level. Then the budget committee puts it all together along with in-house staff projects and brings a balanced budget to the board to discuss and approve.  This is the start of the next fiscal year and the projects they will see develop with the intent to build beef demand, educate our consumers and medical influencers, and communicate with producers about how their checkoff dollars are at work for them every day.

I know in the country there is confusion about the “Federation”.  Many think it is NCBA.  The Federation of State Beef Councils is simply a structured voice for ALL state checkoffs. The Federation does operate under the NCBA umbrella. The Federation has evolved over a number of years and provides not only efficiency in overhead costs but also provides consistent information and resources for state beef councils to utilize for design services, website creation, issues management and so much more.  The Federation also gives state producers a voice on the national level of how our beef checkoff dollars are spent.

Montana is a cow rich, people poor state so it makes sense to spend some of our dollars in other more populated areas where our dollars can be used more effectively.  That is not to say we don’t do some amazing projects and programs at the state level. We do!  We have a tremendous staff in place, who works on our behalf every day that are just as passionate about the beef industry as we are!

This being said, it was hard to do a budget this year with the uncertainty the injunction brings.  For more than 60 years, the Montana Beef Council has been building relationships and working to build beef demand.  As a producer, I ask you to please sign the consent form and continue to give Montana producers a voice and program direction of our checkoff. I believe in the value of the checkoff program and have seen so many positive things come from checkoff work it still

One of the things that excites me is this new promotional ad that is on the Beef It’s What’s For Dinner website and will be used in other areas too.  Please go listen today.  I think it will excite you too about what the checkoff is doing and working on and go sign the consent form and turn it in today!

Sign your affidavit today to retain local control over your Beef Checkoff.

Montana Beef Council Board of Directors set plan for upcoming fiscal year

The Montana Beef Council will invest about $1.8 million into programs of beef promotion, education, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications in fiscal year 2017, which began Oct. 1. Programs approved are funded through Montana’s 50 cent in-state portion of the $1 per head beef checkoff.

In action concluding its Sept. 28-30 meeting in Billings, the MBC Board of Directors—all volunteers, including members from nearly all segments of the beef supply chain—approved checkoff funding for a total of 28 demand-building project funding requests, or proposals for checkoff funding, in the fiscal year.

“The projects that the board reviewed this year were high-caliber and made for great discussion as we determined programs that best aligned with our strategic priorities,” said Kristin Larson, Montana Beef Council president, a producer and livestock auction market partner from Sidney. “I also serve on the national Beef Promotion Operating Committee and the process for reviewing and determining projects to fund on the national level is very similar. Each representative on our Montana Beef Council board takes their responsibility very seriously and I am continually impressed with their engagement. As a producer it is exciting to be part of all the great work and programs happening on our behalf to promote our product.”

As a result of its deliberations, the board of directors approved requests from 21 different organizations that will meet the mission of protecting and increasing demand for beef and beef products. The Fiscal Year 2017 Work Plan for the Montana Beef Council includes:

Kristin Larson

Montana Beef Council President Kristin Larson (MSGA representative)

• $46,050 for in-state education programs, including health professionals, Team Beef athletes, classroom education, farm fairs, environmental stewardship pasture to plate tour and tradeshows across the state;
• $118,965 for in-state promotional programs, focusing on tradeshows, consumer radio and digital advertising, targeted consumer events in the Northeast United States, targeted U.S. beef promotion with Japanese retailers, barbecue cook-off and statewide retail and foodservice partnerships;
• $18,000 for in-state beef safety and issues management comprised of disseminating accurate information about the beef community to counter misinformation as well as the Montana beef quality assurance program;
• $34,450 for in-state producer communications, which includes producer outreach using digital and radio communication as well direct communications to producers about checkoff results;
• $281,000 for domestic consumer marketing to continue consumer outreach, digital advertising, beef safety research, nutrition research, quality research, issues management, retail support, influencer engagement and foodservice support; and
• $113,600 for foreign marketing and education in over 80 countries including Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico and many more.
Other expenses funded through the budget include $331,415 for administration, which includes insurance, office lease, equipment, office supplies, postage, telephone, Department of Livestock administration expenses, collection administration expenses, board expenses, travel and administrative staff compensation for program implementation.

The Montana Beef Council is active throughout the year on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and can be found at www.montanabeefcouncil.org.

MBC Board

Board members. (Back row, L to R: Richard Anderson, Shane Flowers, Jim Taber, Brett Dailey, Jan Allen. Front row, L to R: Kiley Martinell, Linda Swanz, Bill Cok, Kristin Larson, Bruce Lee, Kathy Crieghton-Smith!

The Montana Beef Council is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international consumer marketing programs including promotion, education and research, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers. For more information, contact Chaley Harney at (406) 656-3336 or chaley@montanabeefcouncil.org.

CATTLE CRAWL – PROGRESSIVE BEEF DINNER IN BILLINGS, OCTOBER 9

Experience a night of culinary fusion, Montana style! Meet local chefs and local beef producers as they bring you their latest creations during a walking tour of three premiere downtown Billings restaurants. Registration is open for the 2016 Cattle Crawl, taking place in downtown Billings on Sunday, October 9, beginning at 5:00 p.m.

The Cattle Crawl is an opportunity to acquaint urban consumers with area ranchers to feature beef in a creative way. The tour kicks off at Stacked a lively tavern with a contemporary vibe for an opportunity for diners to enjoy beef appetizers. The dinner tour then continues with stops at Noodles O’Brien at Thirsty Street Brewing before finishing the crawl at TEN at The Northern.

The annual Cattle Crawl is made possible by Montana beef producers and their Checkoff dollars. Proceeds benefit leadership and education programs for young ranchers involved with the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

Tickets are $65 per person and include food, drinks and a commemorative Montana Cattle Crawl pint glass. This event is limited to 50 participants, so be sure to register early to attend this fun evening of beef dishes and fun in downtown Billings.

2016-cattle-crawl

Research Promotes Beef Protein All Day

beef checkoff logoIf beef is what’s for dinner, what should be on the plates for the other meals? If you said it’s still beef, you’d be right. The fact is, research shows that balancing protein throughout the day makes good nutritional sense.

However, few Americans eat this way. The beef industry, however, through its Beef Checkoff Program, is working to educate consumers on the value of balance and adequate protein intake.

The challenge has been formidable. Research shows that Americans eat about two-thirds of their total daily protein at the dinner meal. That doesn’t leave much room for protein in your breakfast and lunch meals or snacks – and that could be a problem, current researchers say.

“The imbalance of protein meals is an issue,” according to Stuart Phillips, Ph.D., a professor in the department of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. “High-quality protein of sufficient quantities and evenly spaced is key to gaining or maintaining muscle mass.”

Phillips, a recognized researcher focusing on the nutrition and exercise factors that affect muscle protein, says the elderly especially are in need of more protein per meal to stimulate protein synthesis and muscle generation. An optimal intake for robust stimulation in older men is 42 grams per meal, or what is provided by about 6 ounces of cooked 85% lean ground beef.

According to Heather Leidy, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition & Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri, not only is protein important, but the time of day protein is consumed could be significant.  “Protein at breakfast appears to be a good target to increase protein intake,” Leidy says. “A high-protein breakfast seems to reduce food craving-based neural signals, and improve overall diet quality.”

In a review paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2015, Leidy and her colleagues suggested that higher-protein diets containing between 1.2 and 1.6 g of protein per kg of body weight per day (82 – 109 g of protein for a 150-pound person) – and including meal-specific quantities of at least 25-30 grams (equivalent to 3 – 3 ½ ounces of cooked beef) – provide these and other improvements.

Consensus of Opinion
The Beef Checkoff Program has helped support research seeking to answer these kinds of questions. One checkoff-supported study, conducted by Leidy, found that daily consumption of a higher-protein breakfast that included two eggs and 1.5 ounces of beef was superior to both a normal-protein breakfast that featured milk and cereal or skipping breakfast altogether, in terms of improving appetite control, curbing food cravings and reducing unhealthy snacking in overweight or obese teenage girls who routinely skip their breakfast meal. The research was featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013 and in the Nutrition Journal in 2014.

This line of research has led to additional research on the timing, quantity and quality of protein intake and its impact on appetite and satiety, along with the development of novel dietary strategies and recommendations.

A disparity in the timing of protein consumption could contribute to health issues such as sarcopenia, or muscle loss, as well. A study on protein intake among the elderly, supported by the Beef Checkoff Program, demonstrated that consumption of both total and animal source protein was skewed heavily to the dinner meal. That could mean a disparity in quantity and quality of protein among the other meals.

The study, which utilized data from a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population (the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-06) and quantified protein intake and determined adequacy of protein in the diets of U.S. adults, was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2013.

Putting Research into Action
The research on balancing protein throughout the day provided impetus last spring for the beef industry’s 30 Day Protein Challenge, a step-by-step way to get the optimal amount of protein across all meals. The challenge encourages consumers to eat 30 grams of protein at every meal to help them maintain and/or build muscle, control food cravings and generally provide better overall health and wellness. Undertaking the Protein Challenge would help them take control of their appetite and kick-start the benefits of balancing protein consumption.

Consumers who sign up for the challenge receive daily inspirational e-mails, tools to help them succeed and delicious, nutritious beef recipes with plenty of protein. While the 30 Day Protein Challenge was officially kicked off last April, consumers can start anytime and receive the 30-day plan.

Registered dietitians helped develop the challenge by first trying it out themselves and providing feedback to strengthen the program. After her own 30 day experience, nutrition expert Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RDN, CDE said “I liked that my focus shifted to protein, which overall made me choose more nutrient-rich foods. It made me focus on more of a ‘real’ dinner than just throwing something together.”

Dobbins noted that the broad nature of the Protein Challenge helped generate a wider appeal.  “Some people still don’t get that there is a wide range of acceptable protein intakes and that ‘plant based diets’ aren’t the only healthful approach,” she said.

Thousands of consumers have since become active in the 30 Day Protein Challenge program, with a website landing page becoming the most visited page on www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com. Tens of thousands of visits have been made to the page, thanks to state beef council and national efforts to promote it.

It was the research, however, that gave the program its value and credibility.

“Research has always been a cornerstone of our efforts to encourage better nutrition among consumers,” according to Jennifer Houston, a beef producer from Sweetwater, Tenn., and chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils. “As we learn more about the benefits of protein consumption throughout the day, we can share those with thought-leaders and others who are helping consumers enjoy optimal nutrition. Making sure people have the proper amount of high-quality protein at the right times is certainly one way we can improve nutrition nationwide.”

Houston says it’s also a way to continue to stress the value of beef in the diet. She says the educational and research efforts are a natural fit. “Without research, our promotions and educational efforts wouldn’t be effective or believable,” she says. “Our emphasis on research is how we find out as much as possible about protein, and that’s evidence that what we do is based on what we know to be true.”

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Beef Contractor Program Profits | Checkoff Chat

beef checkoff contractors profitQ: Do contractors make money from the checkoff?

A: No. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board and USDA must approve all checkoff budgets and programs before any contractors are reimbursed for program costs on a cost-recover basis. Contractors pay program costs from their own organizational budgets, and then are reimbursed only for substantiated direct costs incurred in implementing approved checkoff programs.

Checkoff Chat Montana Beef CouncilRead more about the Beef Checkoff Programs in our Checkoff Chat Series with the Montana Beef Council. Click here to submit your own questions to be answered in future posts.

About the Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff Program (MyBeefCheckoff.com) was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the $1 and forward the other 50 cents to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. The Montana Beef Council was created in 1954 by cattlemen as a marketing organization for the Montana beef industry and is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international beef promotion, research and education, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers.

Are Packers on Cattlemen’s Beef Board | Checkoff Chat

Beef Checkoff Packer PaymentsQ: Do packers and importers pay the checkoff?

A: Any packer who owns cattle for more than 10 days prior to harvest must pay the dollar-per-head checkoff on each animal. There are, however, no packer seats on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Importers pay the $1-per-head checkoff or the equivalent, on imported cattle, beef and beef products, amounting to several million dollars each year. Meet the current members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.

Checkoff Chat Montana Beef CouncilRead more about the Beef Checkoff Programs in our Checkoff Chat Series with the Montana Beef Council. Click here to submit your own questions to be answered in future posts.

About the Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff Program (MyBeefCheckoff.com) was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the $1 and forward the other 50 cents to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. The Montana Beef Council was created in 1954 by cattlemen as a marketing organization for the Montana beef industry and is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international beef promotion, research and education, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers.

Programs Funded By Beef Dollars | Checkoff Chat

Checkoff ProgramsQ: What can and can’t the checkoff do?

A: The mission of the Beef Checkoff Program focuses on “improving producer profitability, expanding consumer demand for beef and strengthening beef’s position in the marketplace.” To accomplish this, the checkoff acts as a catalyst for change and is designed to stimulate beef sales and consumption through a combination of initiatives, including consumer advertising, research, public relations and new-product development. Conversely, by law, checkoff funds cannot be used to influence government policy or action, including lobbying. The checkoff doesn’t own cattle, packing plants or retail outlets. It can’t control prices or single-handedly turn around a bad market. Check out all of the current and past efforts of the checkoff at www.MyBeefCheckoff.com

Checkoff Chat Montana Beef CouncilRead more about the Beef Checkoff Programs in our Checkoff Chat Series with the Montana Beef Council. Click here to submit your own questions to be answered in future posts.

About the Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff Program (MyBeefCheckoff.com) was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the $1 and forward the other 50 cents to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. The Montana Beef Council was created in 1954 by cattlemen as a marketing organization for the Montana beef industry and is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international beef promotion, research and education, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers.

Decisions for Spending Beef Dollars | Checkoff Chat

Montana Beef CouncilQ: Who decides how to spend the checkoff dollars in Montana?

A: The Montana Beef Council Board of Directors administers the beef checkoff program in Montana. There is cross-industry representation on the board which allows for dynamic insight and collaborative goals. The board meets throughout the year to stay up-to-date and each September the board specifically meets to evaluate projects from the current fiscal year and hear funding requests from outside contractors seeking to promote beef or educate others about beef. Through a committee process, recommendations are then made to the full board on the various funding requests and the board collectively approves a comprehensive budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on October 1. The Montana Beef Council is always seeking new and innovative ideas for beef promotion, education and research and welcomes new proposals.

Meet the current board of directors on the Montana Beef Council website.

Checkoff Chat Montana Beef CouncilRead more about the Beef Checkoff Programs in our Checkoff Chat Series with the Montana Beef Council. Click here to submit your own questions to be answered in future posts.

About the Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff Program (MyBeefCheckoff.com) was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the $1 and forward the other 50 cents to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. The Montana Beef Council was created in 1954 by cattlemen as a marketing organization for the Montana beef industry and is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international beef promotion, research and education, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers.