Source: Texas Beef Council
After 30 years with the Texas Beef Council, the past 23 years as executive vice president, Richard Wortham announced his plans for retirement on Nov. 21, 2019. Wortham has been instrumental in the growth and evolution of the Texas beef industry, most notably elevating the Texas Beef Council as a premier qualified state beef council and leading the way to influence Texas and national programming.
“Richard has seen the Beef Checkoff grow from an initial vision in the 1988 referendum into a fully established program that is delivering the results that were promised and much more in 2019,” said Michael White, chairman of the TBC board. “Humbly, he has led his team through many industry challenges and reminds board members that we leave our hats and egos at the door as we represent all checkoff stakeholders. The checkoff today is better because of Richard, and we have big shoes to fill as we begin our search for his replacement.”
Wortham has worked alongside numerous partners through the beef industry’s challenges and evolution. For example, he collaborated seamlessly with the industry’s crisis team after the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also called BSE, was discovered in 2003. He has seen tremendous growth in global demand for U.S. beef and recognized its value to Texas beef producers.
“Throughout Wortham’s tenure, his commitment to leading impactful programs in research, promotion, and education cannot go unacknowledged,” said Austin Brown III, past chairman of the board. “Because of his leadership, TBC has influenced change in a variety of programs that reach consumers, retail and culinary professionals, health professionals, producers and many more beef industry stakeholders.”
Under Wortham’s leadership, TBC became the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s fourth largest investor, aiding the organization as it works to grow international beef demand. He also witnessed the original $1-per-head Beef Checkoff lose purchasing power due to economic inflation and the Texas beef industry’s vision to step up and pass an additional, refundable $1 state checkoff. This state checkoff ushered in the possibilities of additional initiatives such as the Beef Loving Texans brand, consumer advertising and the Medical Doctor Outreach program. Other notable programs include those focused on producer education like the Beef Quality Assurance program and Beef 706.
“It is with great confidence in our staff, board members and industry partners that I plan my retirement,” said Wortham. “I’ve worked with some of the finest people I’ve ever met who are passionate about the beef industry. The success of the Beef Checkoff does not, and never has, rested upon the shoulders on any one individual. Rather, it is the effort of us all to take the industry to new heights. I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity to have played a small part over the last 30 years in helping be a catalyst to increase beef demand.”
TBC will begin the search for a new Executive Vice President immediately, and Wortham will remain in place to assist with the transition process until July 2020.
To learn more about your Beef Checkoff-funded investment, please visit TexasBeefCheckoff.com or call 1-800-846-4113.