The beef checkoff, participating in the 2015 Annual Meat Conference in Nashville, Tenn., in late February, sponsored two educational sessions for meat retailers.
At "The Changing Face of Supermarket Foodservice and the Keys to Long-Term Success," retailers learned about prepared foods including beef, like ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat meats at service counters or grab-and-go areas.
Also at the conference, Season Solorio, who leads the checkoff's issues- and reputation-management team, participated in a panel discussion focused on communicating about modern agriculture and sustainability.
The panel brought together representatives from the entire agricultural supply chain and covered multi-species, including a pork farmer, a packer and retail and foodservice consultants, to talk about the challenges each segment faces in communicating the sustainability of modern ag.
The beef checkoff also hosted a beef lunch to give retailers an inside look at the beef market and supply, market intelligence, issues monitoring and culinary opportunities.
"This was a key opportunity for the beef checkoff to reach a select group of retailers that help us market and move product," said Federation of State Beef Councils Chairman Jennifer Houston, who attended the lunch.
Representatives of beef councils in 11 states that are active in beef checkoff retail and foodservice efforts participated in the conference: California, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
"The Annual Meat Conference is a chance for the broader beef community to get together," said Rob Noel, director of channel marketing for the Washington State Beef Commission. "It's also a rallying point for those who want to market beef more successfully."
Following the conference, representatives from 19 state beef councils attended a two-day workshop to discuss checkoff-funded retail and foodservice programs and what they can do to extend beef partnerships and educational efforts to retailers.
In addition to the states who participated in the Annual Meat Conference, beef councils from Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania sent representatives to the workshop.
"It was valuable to learn where we're headed in terms of promoting beef through retail and foodservice," said Kaye Strohbehn of the Minnesota Beef Council. "More than that, though, it was great to have an opportunity to engage with our national team members, as well as our counterparts at other state beef councils, to find ways to work together and leverage our resources to help build beef demand throughout the United States."