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Would You Support A $2 Checkoff?

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Minnesota is considering a referendum that would raise the checkoff to $2/head in the state. Would you support it?

It’s been a busy week for cattlemen in my neighboring state of Minnesota. First, the annual FarmFest has been underway. Second, the Minnesota State Fair officially got started. And finally, the Minnesota Beef Council (MBC) and Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association (MSCA) introduced a referendum to raise the state’s checkoff rate by $1.

The call for increasing the checkoff has been rumbling through the countryside for many years. With fewer cattle, that means fewer dollars, which results in less money to fund research, host educational events and promote beef to consumers. That reality was behind the moves by beef producers in Washington, Idaho and Alabama, to name a few, which have instituted state beef checkoffs of an additional 50¢ to $1/head on top of the national $1 checkoff. And other states are also considering such actions to boost home-state promotion of beef.

MSCA launched a new website – raisedwithpride.com - which allows cattlemen to request a ballot to vote for or against the referendum. It also fully explains what the referendum entails. The referendum will come to a vote in February 2014. Ballot sign-up must be requested by Dec. 15, 2013. If passed, it would increase the checkoff by an additional $1 for every head sold. This would result in an additional $500,000-$750,000 for MBC to promote beef in the state.

According to a recent press release, “The proposed state checkoff would differ from the federal checkoff currently being collected. If the state checkoff is passed, the entire $1 stays in the state to communicate with influencers and consumers; is voluntary, a refund can be requested through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture; only applies to Minnesota cattle, sold in Minnesota; does not apply to dairy animals being sold for breeding purposes; falls under the jurisdiction of the state beef promotion order and will only be spent on projects in Minnesota.”

Additionally, MBC and MSCA are reaching out to consumers with a new campaign called “Raised with Pride, Handled with Care,” which will show folks where their beef comes from.

BEEF Senior Editor Burt Rutherford commented on this subject saying, “This is very likely the leading edge of a number of efforts at the state beef council and state cattlemen’s association level to adjust to the twin realities of declining cattle numbers and declining checkoff dollars. Ultimately a national referendum will be necessary, but until that happens, any effort to keep checkoff expenditures anywhere close to a level necessary to move the needle on beef demand will have to happen at the state level.”

I agree with Rutherford that it’s only a matter of time before more states follow suit and request additional dollars from their state’s producers. I also anticipate that moves like Minnesota's will fuel those who are checkoff concept altogether. Of course, one of producers' comfort points with the state checkoffs is that they tend to be more personally familiar with the folks managing the state checkoff program. Whether you live in Minnesota or not, I think this is a good time to ask a few questions from all of you: Would you support a $2/head checkoff in your state? Do you support the checkoff? Why or why not? What is the assessment level in your state? Is it working for you? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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Discuss this Blog Entry 49

Bob Voegeli (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Yes, I would support a $2/head checkoff.

Kelley (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

NO

ricky ruffin (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Absolutely not. I am in favor of checkoff but not with the present structure of spending the money. The beef board in my state uses the money to support the state cattle assn. and the CBB operation comm uses the money to support the NCBA. Both fought cool and packer ownership of cattle. These were issue important to producers. The boards that spend the money are stacked with people from Mississippi cattle assn. and NCBA. Not ever would I support checkoff until it solves the conflict of interest problem.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

I would support a two dollar checkoff

R. Kuhn (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

We DO participate in the Beef Check-off because it's the law! like paying tax's. Just another cost associated with raising cattle that we have no control over. If we had a choice, No, we would no longer contribute to the check-off program because the Beef Check-off does absolutely nothing for our operation. We are a small "Traditional sized Family Farm", we aren't 't effected by national issues, price per head fluctuations and health issues associated with large scale operations. We have a closed herd and provide a product for our family, friends and folks in our area. Personally, I feel the check-off program only benefits feed-lot producers and retail markets, such as those that are continually featured on NCBA's Cattlemen to Cattlemen. Have you ever seen a producer festured on that show that raises less than 100 head? Or a producer who farm less than a 500 acres? Of course not. And allot of our hard earned check-off dollars go to producing that weekly show, that promotes ways of raising/producing cattle that we don't approve of.

Diane Henderson (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Just to clarify one point here, R. Kuhn, no checkoff dollars are used to producer Cattlemen to Cattlemen. That is a program of NCBA's policy division, which has no connection to the checkoff.

Bo (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

I support the checkoff as a whole. I will not support an increase until they reorganize the structure of the employees. Im of the opinion some of them get entirely too much $ for a position.....

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

AMEN!

Charlie Kraus (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Data collected by university ag economists has long shown that beef is produced for only a small profit or for a loss. Maybe the decline in cow numbers in the US reflects the fact that cattle producers are beginning to wake up to this fact. Would it not make more sense to use check off dollars to fund business and economics scholarships for cattle producers?

on Aug 26, 2013

Yes would support a $2 check off The industry needs more fo the great work this porgram does

Dave Forgey (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

As an Indiana dairyman I would support the beef check-off increase in our state even though as a dairyman I also pay the dairy check-off. It does add value. Sometimes I disagree with how the dairy check-off is spent but that's why I voice my concerns at the meetings.

Burke (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Yes. The checkoff should be increased. A lot of inflation has occurred since its inception. For those who think it does no good, they just need to take a little time and see what has been funded by the checkoff. Two dollars is a very small amount to pay to promote our product and to fund research to make our product better, safer, and more efficiently used.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Yes, I would support the $2.00 increase per head. I am a Virginia beef calf producer; I run 500 cows plus their calves and I support the increase to better the cattle industry. H. Ronnie Montgmery

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

NO!! I just love how they start out by making you request a ballot in December for a vote in February. Has to make you wonder who thought that up. I would guess that is someone who does not have any intention to listening to someone who has a different opinion than theirs. I am getting damned tired of all of the people getting into my pocket while they feather theirs. If this such a good idea let them write the check. Looks to me like the cow calf man is the bottom of the food chain with these people.

Ernest Shelton (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Yes I would support a $2 check-off. The money is well spent.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

I would certainly support a $2 per head checkoff. I wish we had one in Arkansas personally. If you look at cattle numbers, there is a whole lot less money going to beef promotion now than there was 20 years ago when the checkoff started. Other proteins would love to have more of the market share. I think we get a lot of mileage out of our $1 and would be excited to see what could be done with $2.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

The money has not been spent wisely and raising it is like pouring salt in a wound

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Increase taxes and increase spending. I'm tired of these liberal's agendas. If you truly believe in a free market system, why do you need a government program marketing your product? Chicken has no Checkoff and Pork was only half what beef was 20 years ago, and look at how much market share they have gained.
You can bet NCBA will figure out a way to feed their addiction to such government programs with their state affiliate, Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association, and we will end up again funding even more failed policies for our industry.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

I would if money was taken fron NCBA who has a very small percent of beef producers as members. Our local cattlemans assoc. discontinued ties with NCBA years ago. Their should be a way to have more accountability for dollars spent. To many fat cats at this time.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Not No, but hell No! Taxation without reresentation

J R Dockery (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

The check off has been a slush fund for NCBA and land grant colleges...Wow it supposedly gave us the flat iron steak.... News flash ... any good butcher knew how to cut that steak, long before they wasted a bunch of money to give it a name.

Kyle W. (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

The problem is that they have been focusing on the wrong people. Checkoff funds MUST be used to advertise beef to the CONSUMER. Find out what it costs to run ads continuously on the food network/cooking channel, during national TV, sponsor cooking shows, etc. and go backwards from there to determine how much the checkoff needs to be. They've come up with all sorts of cuts, maybe one or two the average consumer has even heard of.

And I understand this publication needs ad revenue to publish, but we do NOT need a checkoff ad in BEEF magazine. We need it in women's magazines, and since they probably don't read many magazines anymore, facebook and wherever else a married female between the ages of 25-55 will see it.

W.E. (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Agree with R. Kuhn. Unless and until we can be sure that part of our checkoff dollars go to support those of us who raise beef entirely on grass and market locally, we cannot in good conscience support an increase in the checkoff dollars, which do very little to help producers like us. We used to donate a dollar for every animal we sold direct from our farm to our customers, but no longer do, because we see an inordinate amount of the checkoff going to benefit, not grassroots cattle producers, but middle marketers, grain-feeding feedlots, and packers.

A John (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

I would support an increase, but $2 is not enough. I know of no other business where so little is spent on product promotion and in defense of false accusations etc. We should be spending $5-$10/head. Can we really not afford to spend $5 when selling a $1,000 calf or a $1,700 fed steer?

No doubt there will be times when we believe the money was mismanaged or not spent the way we believe it should have been, but all of that won't matter when the beef business goes the way of the sheep business and really does not exist any more. We need a full scale attack on the misinformation campaigns that are in full force against us. That takes lots of money.

Face it, well sell a commodity and we have to do promotion as a group. Unless you feed them yourself and sell them out of your freezer, you can't "spend your own money and promote your own beef".

W.E. (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Agree with R. Kuhn. Unless and until we can be sure that part of our checkoff dollars go to support those of us who raise beef entirely on grass and market locally, we cannot in good conscience support an increase in the checkoff dollars, which do very little to help producers like us. We used to donate a dollar for every animal we sold direct from our farm to our customers, but no longer do, because we see an inordinate amount of the checkoff going to benefit, not grassroots cattle producers, but middle marketers, grain-feeding feedlots, and packers. A prime example of this is the new “Beef Sustainability Assessment” published elsewhere in the media. See our response to that article if you want more details.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Would you please share the media outlet that you posted your comment to regarding the Beef Sustainability Assessment?

RT (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

I do NOT think the beef checkoff needs to be raised to $2.00. In our state, half is kept in state and have to national level. I personally think all needs to go to national level as long as they would make sure advertising was done nationwide, in all states. I think it can be and has been a terrific asset to all of us as ranchers. I do not agree with the way part of the money is spent. There should never be a paid advertisement in a beef magazine, for you are preaching to the choir...put the money where it can reach those that will increase our demand for beef in the US. Also, hopefully none is going toward fancy meeting places(which none of us can afford) to do business for the beef board. Conduct business as a business, thus getting the most benefit out of the dollar. Thank You for what good you have done in the past!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

No. Not until Forrest Roberts is gone and more transparency is born.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

NO I would not support a $2.00 check off for beef

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Wow - if the national Beef Checkoff stopped all the work they were doing you wouldn't see any Beef. It's What's For Dinner Ads, there would be fewer grocery store beef promotions [tastings and product demos]and the National Beef Ambassadors program would be partially defunded - Checkoff dollars are for beef promotion and defense. It's asinine to say that the Checkoff does nothing for grass producers - ALL beef is represented and promoted by the Checkoff. No one method is touted as better than the other anywhere in any Checkoff material and the goal is to increase consumer confidence in ALL beef.

Kyle W. (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

I cannot tell you the last time I saw a "Beef. It's What's for Dinner" ad, or a beef ad of any kind on television, online or in a magazine other than beef industry publications like this one. But more importantly, my wife can't think of the last time she saw one, either.

M. L. Slender (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

I too agree that I'm tired of going to Costco and seeing all of the chicken products that are being sampled, and opening recipe magazines and 75% are chicken recipes. Whomever is in charge of getting this information out to the public, is NOT doing their job!!
We wouldn't have a problem with the additional $1.00, but lets get more support for beef products and the small rancher!!

Betty Erickson (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

NO I would not support a $2.00 checkoff for Beef

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Hell No!
The pockets of the NCBA has expanded at the cost of the beef producers. The only one gaining from this checkoff is the NCBA lining their pockets! I'm not seeing any ads what so ever! Maybe it's time to get away from sale barns to sell our livestock. Go private and keep that checkoff $ in our own pockets, their just fleecing the american beef producer. Another scam.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

NO! The check off should be discontinued!! US producers dollars should advertise US BEEF! COOL, Beef Born Raised and processed in the United States!!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

NO!! THERE ARE TOO MANY CONNECTIONS TO NCBA AND THE PACKERS WHO FOUGHT COOL AND OTHER ISSUES THAT BENEFIT LEGIMATE CATTLEMEN.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

NO! Poiticians are great at coming up with new ways to spend other peoples money, and the guys running the checkoff are no exception. How about we try a little free enterprise I promise you tyson, cargill and the others will work very hard to sell more beef so they can make more money. I think I would like to keep my own money and use it to make my operation more profitable. Hillary was wrong when she said it takes a village to raise a child and those who think that it takes a village to have a profitable beef industry are just as confused as she was. Free markets and free enterprise will do far more to make all of us profitable.

signed
the rugged individualist

IHMan (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

yes I would. there are so many factors against us we need to support factors for us

Clint (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

I would support an increase if it was used to promote the cattle industry and not strictly beef. Another aspect that needs the extra money is the battle against animal rights groups. Please tell me why spending for this is not just as important to our industry. Without some changes in purpose I believe more money is wasted.

MAM (not verified)
on Aug 26, 2013

Absolutely not! Not as long as NCBA is involved in anyway with the CHECKOFF. It should be a stand alone entity.

Sue Olson (not verified)
on Aug 27, 2013

NO!! Until they get the fox (NCBA) out of the hen house (check off) the program will never be run for the benefit of the cow/calf producer. The NCBA actions with the pork producers is the last straw. The check off needs to be revoted on totally revamped before I support it or any additional dollars.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 27, 2013

NCBA is a contractor to the Checkoff meaning they have to apply for the funds. NCBA doesn't run the Checkoff

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 28, 2013

Too many ignorant statements here! FACT: Beef Checkoff Contracts are awarded on a COST RECOVERY ONLY basis! That means there is NO profit on those contracts. Only actual costs of fulfilling contracts are paid, ONLY after the money is spent and approved. There are multiple checks and balances to assure the rules.

Chris (not verified)
on Aug 29, 2013

No I do not support an increase. Our funds do not go to help local growers but to pad the political process nationally. The ads that are paid for by check off dollars are poorly done- check out the pork growers...drop the national and use the dollars to advertise in the local state.

Mark Lacey (not verified)
on Aug 29, 2013

I'm a California beef producer our check off is $1.00 and I would support a $2.00 assessment. Our buying power for research and promotion has declined greatly and we need so much more consumer outreach an increase is long over due.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 2, 2013

Absolutely I would support the $2.00 increase. We are getting good money for our cattle is $1.00 extra really going to hurt anyone? What a producer gets out of the check off is far more than $1.00. We could do so much better promoting our product if we had a little more money. I think a lot of the people that say no to a raise are misinformed on how the money is spent. Everybody wants more advertisement but they don't want to spend more money. I don't believe people know how much the cost is for a ad in a national magazine or to produce a TV commercial. Bottom line is we need it.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 2, 2013

No, NCBA controls the Federation, NCBA members control the CBB ,NCBA members control the operating committee and the executive committee. NCBA members should have to abstain from discussing and voting on anything that has to do with the checkoff. Don't forget NCBA receives $8-10 million in implementation cost that is NOT cost recovery.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 2, 2013

NO, not until NCBA is separated from the Federation

Brian M (not verified)
on Nov 30, 2013

NO Does the slaughter plant pay check-off ? My cattle buyer tells me, my calfs will sell themselves. Why do we have check-off on most everything?

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