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BEEF CHECKOFF ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF FIRST ANNUAL NATIONAL RETAIL BEEF BACKER® AWARD WINNERS

RENO, Nev. (Feb. 8, 2008) – The Beef Checkoff Program announced the winners of the first annual national Retail Beef Backer® Awards program. Harris Teeter, Foodmaster Supermarkets and The Kroger Company were named for their commitment to outstanding beef marketing and merchandising programs. Presentations were made at the 2008 Cattle Industry Annual Convention & Trade Show in Reno, Nev.

“The Retail Beef Backer Awards Program is one way beef producers can show their appreciation to retailers for the exceptional work they do to increase beef demand,” says Don Stewart, an importer from Highland Park, Ill., and chair of the beef checkoff's Joint Retail Committee. “We are excited to award these winners for their hard work over the last year.”

The 2007 award winners are:

o      Chain (11+ stores): Harris Teeter (166 stores), based in Matthews, N.C.

o      Independent (fewer than 11 retail stores): Foodmaster Supermarkets (10 stores), based in Chelsea, Mass.

o      Innovator (This award, for an innovative beef support program or product merchandising program that succeeded in increasing beef demand, will be chosen from all submissions): The Kroger Company (2,400 stores), based in Cincinnati, Ohio, for their launch of the Flat Iron Steak.

Retail Beef Backer Award winners are selected based on their excellent merchandising of beef at the meat case. A third-party judging panel also took into consideration the retailers' tie-ins with beef checkoff-funded programs such as Easy Fresh Cooking® labels, Beef Training Camp, Summer Grilling promotions, the Beef Value Cuts program and on-pack nutrition labeling. Applicants are also judged on retailer-originated beef promotions that focus on increasing beef demand among their customers. Such programs include outstanding beef promotions, co-marketing promotions and customer education programs.

“We were very impressed with the 2007 contest submissions and how retailers worked at increasing beef demand by utilizing beef checkoff funds. Their dedication to this industry only helps us further our work toward the Long Range Plan goal of increasing beef demand by 10 percent by 2010,” adds Stewart. “We welcome all retailers to submit an application for the 2008 contest.”

Winners will be announced at the 2009 Cattle Industry Annual Convention & Trade Show, Jan. 28-31, 2009, in Phoenix, Ariz., in conjunction with the announcement of the Foodservice Beef Backer Award winners.

Submission information, official contest rules and submission forms can be found at www.BeefRetail.org/commBeefBacker.aspx or by contacting the Retail Marketing Manager or State Beef Council.

The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.

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