Oklahoma Beef Council Increasing International Marketing

Article excerpt

The Oklahoma Beef Council is stepping up investments in international marketing in the new year following the success of market investment in 2012, Executive Director Heather Buckmaster said.

"The export market has been adding significant value to Oklahoma beef, at about $200 per head on the price of fed cattle, so the data bears this out," she said Friday. "This will help to drive our dollars into higher-population areas overseas and into new opportunities not available to us here."

Beef marketing is funded by checkoff dollars the industry levies on each head of cattle; other agriculture industries have similar programs established by federal legislation. The OBC invested more than $300,000 in international marketing in 2012. The total amount of beef checkoff investment overseas by the U.S. Meat Export Federation was more than $7 million.

"The domestic buying power of beef checkoff today is about 50 percent of what it used to be in 1987, and that overall amount really hasn't increased since 1987 either," Buckmaster said. "So our board was really looking for ways to leverage our money more effectively. When we move out to international markets, those dollars get matched by both government and industry resources two and three and four times."

Although once Oklahoma cattle are slaughtered and moved into market by companies based elsewhere, the Oklahoma beef checkoff investment is still a benefit locally.

"A rising tide lifts all ships," Buckmaster said.

Buckmaster said cultural differences help bolster the overall value of domestic cattle because certain cuts and body parts such as the liver aren't as popular in the United States.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation recently credited the OBC for making chilled beef widely available in Dubai, one of the world's fastest-growing retail markets with a population of more than 2 million. …