Beef, dairy and veal producers nationwide overwhelming support the national beef checkoff, results of a USDA Beef Checkoff Survey released today show. Conducted by the Gallup Organization, the survey of 8,002 beef, dairy and veal producers nationwide found 72% of those surveyed either strongly approved or somewhat approved of the Beef Checkoff Program.

The survey was conducted from Oct. 4 through Nov. 21, with oversight by USDA, and was conducted as part of a settlement between the Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) and the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA). The settlement followed a May 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled the Beef Promotion and Research Act constitutional.

The survey was funded by checkoff dollars. Representatives of the USDA, CBB, LMA and the Federation of State Beef Councils collaborated in developing the survey questions. Some highlights of the results include:

  • 66% of respondents strongly approve or somewhat approve of the CBB contracting directly "with any entity, including businesses, university researchers, advertising and marketing agencies, and other consultants." Less than 25% would disapprove of this move.

    Currently, the Beef Promotion and Research Act requires that CBB contract only with "established national nonprofit industry-governed organizations ... to implement programs of promotion, research, consumer information and industry information."

  • 82% strongly approve or somewhat approve of a periodic referendum on continuation of the Beef Checkoff Program.

  • Almost 92% strongly agree or somewhat agree that "if it were possible, all or at least some portion of beef checkoff dollars should be used to promote only U.S. born and raised beef." Currently, because importers pay into the program at $1/head on live animal imports and a $1/head equivalent on beef products, the program promotes beef in general. In total, importers account for a total of $8 million, or 10%, of total checkoff assessments collected.
USDA officials say such a modification would entail a change to the authorizing law.

To view all the results, go to www.ams.usda.gov/lsg/mpb/rp-beef.htm and click on: Beef Checkoff Program Survey Results - PDF file.
-- USDA news release