Jennifer Houston, a livestock market operator from Sweetwater, Tenn., was elected chair of the Federation of State Beef Councils during the 2015 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in San Antonio, Texas, last week. Elected vice chair was Steve Hanson, a cow-calf operator from Elsie, Neb.
The Federation of State Beef Councils is the national home of state beef councils and a division of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the beef checkoff program.
Houston previously served as the federation’s vice chair. She grew up on a cattle and hog farm in West Tennessee and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in animal science. She worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Tennessee prior to joining her husband in a family livestock market operation. Houston has been deeply involved in the beef checkoff at the state and national levels. She was appointed to the Tennessee Beef Industry Council when it was established in 1986, and served as the TBIC representative to the National Live Stock and Meat Board, a predecessor organization to NCBA.
As chair of the federation, Houston will serve as vice chair of the Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC), which recommends beef checkoff projects funded at the national level. Hanson will also serve on that committee. Approval of BPOC-approved projects and budgets is required by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In addition to Houston and Hanson, other federation members of the BPOC for 2015 are: Austin Brown III, Texas; Clay Burtrum, Oklahoma; Dawn Caldwell, Nebraska; Terri Carstensen, Iowa; Jerry Effertz, North Dakota; Cevin Jones, Idaho; Scott McGregor, Iowa; and Kristin Larson, Montana. Jones is past chair of the federation. The CBB also appoints 10 members to the BPOC.
Federation Presents Grants
The federation’s executive committee also approved six grants to five state beef councils worth $32,950 through its Federation Initiative Fund program. The state beef councils and respective programs are:
- California Beef Council, Consumer-focused Mobile Application Development: $14,000;
- Georgia Beef Board, Culinary Student Farm Tours: $2,100;
- Indiana Beef Council (two grants), American Culinary Federation Tour, $2,000, and Indiana Team BEEF, $2,050;
- Michigan Beef Industry Commission, Fitness Influencer Education and Outreach, $9,050; and
- Wisconsin Beef Council, Farm to Fork Tour, $3,750.
The Federation Initiative Fund has awarded about $2.3 million to 22 states conducting more than 190 programs since it was started in 2006. Additional projects will be considered at the 2015 Summer Conference in July.
Support for Work of Beef Checkoff Group Expressed
The federation expressed appreciation for efforts of the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group. Members passed a resolution stating the federation “supports the work of the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group and that the Federation continue as a resource in this process.”
Because it is funded with checkoff dollars through state beef councils and their collections of the $1-per-head national beef checkoff, the federation may not take an active role in actions of the working group or in efforts to increase beef checkoff rates. It will not sign the working group’s Memorandum of Understanding, but instead work in a resource capacity for the group’s efforts.