A Nebraska-based beef checkoff won’t be implemented any time soon. A task force formed by the Nebraska Cattlemen, after studying the proposal for more than a year, has just recommended against pursing the checkoff program this year.
The task force report has been presented to NC’s executive committee.
The proposal sought a state checkoff fee of $1 per head, an assessment that would have been in addition to the existing $1-per-head national checkoff. Half of the national checkoff assessments each year stays in Nebraska.
“We received a great deal of input in both the meeting and survey processes regarding the state checkoff proposal,” says Dave Hamilton, task force chairman and rancher from Thedford. “The task force evaluated all of the input and considered current weather and market conditions. While there was a good deal of positive input to move forward, we just don’t feel like the time is right considering the drought and adversity that cattlemen are currently feeling. We appreciate all who took the time to come to a meeting or mail input.”
The task force will present a full report to the NC mid-June, where the association’s membership will discuss and consider the issue.
“The Task Force has done great work in assembling producer input and suggestions for a state program. We commend them for concentration on this important topic,” says Dale Spencer, Nebraska Cattlemen president.
Hamilton says the association will keep discussing the importance of increasing the checkoff at some point in the future.
The task force offered three key reasons why it believed more state revenues are needed:
1. Inflation since the national checkoff was enacted in 1985 has reduced the spending power from $1 to 47 cents per head. Hamilton says that means beef promotion, education and national and international marketing programs aren’t as effective as they could be.
2. Since 1985, the national inventory of beef cows has dropped from 39 million to 29 million, a loss of 10 million head. That’s resulted in lower checkoff revenues.
3. The industry needs to adjust to changing attitudes and tastes of consumers who desire to know more about where their food comes from. This requires changes in how beef is marketed.