Beef Board CEO: Return of beef demand is Checkoff’s goal


By Tom Steever, Brownfield

May 14, 2020


The CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board says financial hardships connected to the COVID-19 outbreak are hitting all segments of the economy, including the cattle industry. Greg Hanes tells Brownfield the current disparity between high boxed beef prices and low fed cattle prices is because of supply/demand dynamics and current diminished processing capacity.


“Unfortunately, that’s nothing that the [Beef] Checkoff can do, this is something, I think, that the system’s going to have to work itself through and get that plant capacity back up to speed to help push that cattle price up,” Hanes told Brownfield Ag News during a Zoom interview. “It seems like cattle prices had been kind of improving a little bit here, so that’s good,” he added, “so we hope that as the plants are all open and moving forward that that will continue.”


”All aspects of the economy are reeling,” writes Hanes in an op-ed, “and yet beef producers continue to be a strong, resilient breed who weather what life throws at them.”


Wholesale beef prices began trending lower after hitting a peak Wednesday following a steep pandemic related upturn. Although boxed beef prices remain $200/cwt higher than they were a month ago, from Wednesday to Thursday of this week, they fell about $18/cwt.


Checkoff-funded research and promotion is aimed at countering the growing amount of competition beef faces in the protein marketplace, according to Hanes, who has been CBB CEO for about a year.


“Beef demand is returning; it’s not at the peaks where it was, but it’s stabilized and is increasing again,” said Hanes. “And that’s really the goal is to make sure that beef is there front and center and that we’re able to counter any of these other negative headwinds against us.”


Without the Checkoff, Hanes says there would be no coordinated efforts to promote beef and to set it apart from its other competitors...


more, including audio [24:26 min.]