Wyoming Beef Council finalizes 2016 budgetWritten by Saige Albert
Casper – During an April 28 meeting of the Wyoming Beef Council (WBC), Board members looked at their annual budget and reviewed funding requests from a variety of groups.
“We are budgeting about 20 percent less than the current fiscal year because cattle aren’t moving,” said Ann Wittmann, executive director of WBC. “We looked at everything.”
During their January meeting, WBC laid out its mission, funding philosophies and strategic priorities to set their course for the future.
For 2016, the Board emphasized where they could best spend money to achieve the most value.
“Wyoming checkoff dollars have the greatest potential to affect a positive change in consumer behavior when pooled with dollars from other state beef councils and when used in high population areas where beef is consumed, rather than where it is raised,” said WBC.
Additionally, the Board recognized their commitment to Wyoming’s cattlemen, saying, “The WBC is accountable to all Wyoming cattlemen and is responsible for ensuring that investors are aware of how their beef checkoff dollars are spent.”
With that in mind, Wittmann noted that she developed a budget based on the strategic plan, and the WBC worked together to adjust the budget during the meeting.
Strategic priorities were developed under two headings.
First, the WBC sought to support the mission and vision of the beef industry’s long-range plan through four pillars.
The WBC mentioned they will “capitalize on Wyoming’s ranching culture and heritage to improve the image of the beef community among millennial parents and key thought leaders.”
In addition, they will strive to capture the millennial audience and convince them to cook beef and share recipes.
Their third platform under the heading of supporting the beef industry is to “proactively educate influencers about environmentally, socially and economically sustainable beef production practices.”
Finally, they are seeking to increase education about the health and nutrition benefits of beef with those people who can influence the industry.
Under their second priority – to increase understanding and support for the beef checkoff – WBC noted that they hope to increase the number of consumers who feel informed about the checkoff to 80 percent by January 2017.
At the same time, the Board is working to increase the overall approval rating of the beef checkoff in the state to 75 percent by January 2017.
“All projects funded with our limited dollars work towards one of these priorities,” Wittmann said.
Wittmann said that, of the changes made, the annual investment to the Federation of State Beef Councils was reduced from $150,000 to $87,000.
“The Board decided to reduce our investment to $87,000, which is the minimum needed to keep our current representation of three directors.”
The Board also decided against hiring an additional individual to serve as administrative staff to save money.
“Funding for national and international programs was cut by 60 percent,” Wittmann explains.
Funding requests to the WBC during the April 28 meeting fell under four categories: beef promotion, consumer information, producer communications and administration.
Under beef promotion, $5,745 was granted to fund an advertisement in the Wyoming Travel and Tourism Journal.
Wyoming Ag in the Classroom and Wyoming CattleWomen were awarded contracts at 50 percent of the amount awarded in fiscal year 2015, with $4,000 granted to each organization. These requests were granted in the consumer information category.
Northern Ag Network and the Wyoming Livestock Roundup were both granted funds for advertising and communicating with producers.
Finally, under administration, funding was provided to a financial audit.
In addition to the budget information, the WBC was updated on leadership for the coming year.
“Dianne Kirkbride fulfilled her two terms as a Federation Director this last year, but under rules, if a person is moving up through leadership, they can have an additional three-year term,” Wittmann commented, noting that the WBC opted to allow Kirkbride to serve an addition term to allow her to complete her term as the National Beef Checkoff Convenience Committee Chairman.
Tom Wright was also reappointed for his second term as a Federation Director. Wyoming’s third Director is Wayne Fahsholtz, who is in his first three-year term.
The next meeting of the Wyoming Beef Council will be June 2 at 4 p.m. by conference call. Look for more information in the Roundup.