As a veteran Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) director and leader, I have read Troy Marshall’s recent commentary on the beef checkoff with great interest and want to comment on some of the recent controversy. While the path we have traveled to get to this point has been rough, I believe we are now positioned to have a constructive industry-wide debate on the future of the beef checkoff and what roles and responsibilities the CBB, the Policy and Federation divisions of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the state beef councils, other contractors and industry organizations, and individual cattlemen should have in that future.

I hope all stakeholders will become well informed and I encourage everyone to make their wishes known to their CBB directors either individually or through organizations that represent them. I also hope that everyone – cattlemen, organizations and media – keeps the discourse civil and focused on the important issues.

I appreciate the concerns of those who have called for negotiations and/or mediation between the CBB and NCBA leaders. I know they have good intentions and that some of the minor differences might be resolved. However, I believe the major underlying issues will only be resolved once consensus within the entire industry on these roles and responsibilities is reached through public debate.

I also want to reassure everyone that as a member of the Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC) and vice-chairman of a program committee I have seen little if any evidence that the conflicts over governance roles and responsibilities have spread to checkoff programs. They are still hard at work building demand for beef. That is possible because of the dedication and professionalism of the staff and volunteer leaders working on our behalf.

John Schafer
Buffalo Lake, MN
CBB director
BPOC member
Vice-chairman, Joint Product Enhancement Committee
NCBA & American Farm Bureau Federation member