The beef checkoff program has 73% support among beef producers, up 3% from a similar survey in July. Only 18% of cattlemen responding to the survey conducted for the Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) by Aspen Media and Market Research, Boulder, CO.

The telephone survey of a random sample of beef and dairy producers nationwide was completed between Dec. 19, 2004 and Jan. 8, 2005 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8%.

Lead researcher Dan Hoffman said the increased support for the program can be attributed, at least in part, to its increased visibility in the news. Of respondents, 41% of producers said they had recently seen, read or heard something about the beef checkoff, up from 34% in the summer survey.

"Many cattlemen are aware the beef checkoff's fate is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court," Hoffman says. "That fact seems to have them paying more attention to their program."

A Kentucky cattleman and CBB chairman, Nelson Curry, told Cattle Industry Annual Convention participants on Thursday that it's "ironic that two negative issues have helped shine a beacon on the value of this program. First, BSE found in the U.S. and Canada has illustrated the need for a comprehensive public communications and crisis management effort. And second, litigation challenging the Beef Checkoff Program is threatening to take away the crisis management program that we do have, as well as the promotional equity producers have in 'Beef. It's What's For Dinner.'®"