National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to The Beef Checkoff

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to The Beef Checkoff

Throughout its existence, the National Cattlemen's Association had expressed concern about the federal budget and passed numerous resolutions calling for less government spending. By 1978 the value of the dollar was approximately half of what it had been in 1968. Inflation rates were out of control. Interest rates were rising and agricultural credit was almost non-existent. Inflated land prices and deflated grain prices caused many American families to lose their farms and ranches.

Surviving producers began to take stock of their association and their industry in the 80s. NCA members worked to "assign value" to the accomplishments of the association and build membership. Industry leaders commissioned management studies and participated on task forces to define the strengths and weaknesses of the industry. They drew a "road map for the future," which set the course for NCA initiatives over the next decade and laid the groundwork for what would become the association's third merger.

NCA members-of-the-day faced issues like packer concentration, frustration over the futures market and the 1985 Farm Bill's dairy herd buy-out.

In the 90s, NCA programs focused primarily on the environment, food safety and animal welfare. Initiatives were quickly gaining sophistication and consumer-direction, yet there was still concern over beef's declining market share.

The national $1 per head beef checkoff program went into effect on Oct. 1, 1986, collecting an average of $80 million per year for the promotion and marketing of beef. NCA and the Beef Industry Council of the National Live Stock and Meat Board contracted with the checkoff's governing body -- the Beef Promotion and Research Board -- to conduct promotion, research, producer communication, industry and consumer information programs on behalf of the industry.

An Industry-Wide Long Range Planning Task Force was formed in the early 90s to once again assess the strengths and weaknesses of the industry and set a course for a successful future. After months of review, the task force concluded that to truly be an efficient, effective, national organization, the various existing beef organizations must become one. To be a viable competitor in the battle for market share, the beef industry must reinvent itself.

Following nearly three years of discussion, planning and compromise, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) was born. In January of 1996, the Beef Industry Council of the Meat Board and the National Cattlemen's Association were merged into one unified organization representing all segments of the beef industry. In addition, joint operating agreements were signed between NCBA and its primary industry partners -- the Beef Promotion and Research Board, the American National CattleWomen and the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

"We've come a long way in one hundred years and yet we still face many challenges," said Max Deets, NCBA president. "Hopefully, as an industry and as an association, we will learn from our past triumphs and failures and use that information to forge a dynamic and profitable beef industry of the Twenty-First Century."

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