Beef industry Long Range Plan; It’s aggressive and in-depth

The new five-year plan builds on previous efforts but gives beef producers even more areas of focus.


Burt Rutherford, BEEF Magazine 

Jul 29, 2020


For those of us who report on and discuss things important to the beef business, the beef industry Summer Meeting was a target-rich environment. Truly, in just two days, the 600 or so folks who showed up got down to work in short order and got a remarkable amount of work done and decisions made.


We’ll have more reports from the meeting as time goes on. Today, however, let’s look at the industry’s new five-year Long Range Plan, which was rolled out at the meeting.


It’s new, however, only in the sense that it’s the latest in a long line of such efforts. The first industry Long Range Plan was initiated in 1995 and every one since then has built on the last as it helped the beef business focus on the things most important for producers to be successful.


Click here to read the new Long Range Plan


Most importantly, however, is that the organizations that fund the planning effort—NCBA and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board—take it seriously, says Kim Brackett, chair of the Long Range Plan Task Force and Idaho cow-calf producer. Rather than put it on a shelf to gather dust, the leadership and staff of those outfits integrate the plan into their work.


“On the checkoff side, they use this plan for the entire checkoff program,” she told me. “All of their plan of work is based against and measured against the Long Range Plan. On the NCBA side, I know they’re excited to see a few strategies in here that are a little more policy oriented this time around.”


The 2021-2025 plan is very similar to the previous plan in many respects, but the current plan is even more comprehensive and in-depth. “We have six core strategies in the new plan and there were four in the previous plan,” Brackett says.


“We retained those four core strategies; they have a little different name this time around, but we retained them. And then we added two new core strategies that are a little more policy focused than in the past. So we’ve broadened the scope of work, if you will, for the plan.”


Ultimately, the plan will be used at both the national and state levels. Each initiative under the six core strategies is prioritized by importance. So, while the plan is indeed in-depth, as state cattlemen’s groups look at folding the plan into their efforts, beef producers can start to eat the elephant one bite at a time rather than tackling the whole thing at once.


“We have five years. Nobody says we have to tackle all this in year one,” she emphasizes. “And some of these (initiatives) build on others. There are some of these steps we need to do A before we do B.


“And it’s also important to remember that a lot of these initiatives are building on the previous plans. There’s work that’s already been done. A lot of these initiatives are just taking the next step, especially in the checkoff arena.”


What’s more, she says there are initiatives that are going to require producers or for-profit companies to latch on to and champion.


Beef Quality Assurance, for example...