Task Force Evaluates Beef Checkoff

Four recommendations decided on by 18-member committee.

Published on: Sep 11, 2006

Last week a task force given the charge to evaluate the beef checkoff program released four recommendations for strengthening the program. The Industry-Wide Beef Checkoff Task Force conducted a series of summer meetings, which concluded on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.

The recommendations are: an opportunity to petition for a referendum ever five years with 10% of beef production signing the petition triggering a vote within a year; an adjustment of the checkoff rate from $1 to $2 per head; enhanced understanding of the Federation of State Beef Council (and considering a change in its name; and make the checkoff more inclusive by eliminating any reference to the charter date.

The four recommendations were passed by at least a super-majority (two-thirds) of the Task Force, not all were supported unanimously. These recommendations will now be presented to national and state beef organizations, which will consider them as they develop future policy regarding the checkoff.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation co-chaired the Task Force, which included representatives from National Milk Producers Federation, National Farmers Union, American Meat Institute, R-CALF USA, National Livestock Producers Association, American Veal Association, Livestock Marketing Council, National Meat Association, Livestock Marketing Association, Meat Importers Council of America and cattle producers chosen by a number of state farm bureaus or cattlemen's associations: Kansas, California, Montana, Kentucky, Texas and Tennessee.

R-CALF USA Beef Checkoff Committee Chair Jim Hanna said he was disappointed in the outcome out of a series of summer meetings conducted by the Industry-Wide Beef Checkoff Task Force, which concluded on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.

"R-CALF brought up a number of possible modifications to the program - including suggestions to earmark dollars to promote USA-born-and-raised products, to allow the Cattlemen's Beef Board to contract directly with vendors, to expand the assessment to the packing industry and to conduct a mandatory periodic referendum," Hanna says.

R-CALF USA voted against the Task Force's recommendation to increase the assessment fee from $1 to $2 per head. The measure passed 11-4. The formal Task Force recommendation is: "To assure strong demand-building initiatives for the beef industry in the future and to offset 20 years of inflation, adjust the per-head checkoff rate to $2. The industry will need to approve any checkoff rate change through a referendum," he says.