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Beltway Beef Audio

Date: 3/13/2017

Title: Audio with Dawn Caldwell, Vice Chair

Audio with Dawn Caldwell, Vice Chair
Federation of State Beef Councils

Nebraska beef producer Dawn Caldwell was elected vice chair of the Federation of State Beef Councils at the Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville earlier this year. Caldwell says she is proud to join the leadership of a team that is making headway in improving beef demand.

“As we progress along and I get to see the results of the hard work that the beef checkoff dollars do, I want to do more. So beef people and the beef community are my people, if you will, so this is my way of, I guess, giving to an industry that’s been pretty good to my family and give back. And so if I can help guide and assure more demand, more people wanting to enjoy more beef more often, I want to do everything that I can to help do that, and this is one way I can make that happen.” (35 seconds)

Caldwell, whose family has a cow-calf operation in Edgar, Nebraska, says she carries the needs and desires of thousands of producers as a checkoff leader.

“We that sit on the committees and on the board are nothing more than stewards of every producer’s dollars. And so I want to make sure that they have confidence that we are doing the right things, but I also know that we have a lot of work to do because 94, 95 percent of our population lives outside of the United States. So it’s a really fun challenge, to me, to help orchestrate everything that, one, maintains a domestic excitement for our product, but two also continues to grow our global demand so that we can assure producers a good return on their work.” (37 seconds)

According to Caldwell, the checkoff has worked for decades to reverse consumer misperceptions.

“In the 70s we all got told that red meat was bad for us, and now we’ve turned the tables on that. We’ve done the work in the research to prove the healthiness of beef and including beef in the diet can actually be very good for your cholesterol, for fitness gurus, fitness buffs, they know how important it is to have beef protein in their diet to be as strong and fit as possible, so we’re seeing trends for the good.” (28 seconds)

Caldwell says her message for her fellow producers is that thanks to a broad based effort, the checkoff is doing what it was intended to do.

“That one dollar investment is returning exponentially for them. And it’s because of the very hard work and very efficient work of literally a very few people in the beef community. We have great staff, we have great contractors, and we have a plethora of great producers that are able to make it to meetings and do show up and voice their opinions.” (22 seconds)