Beef checkoff 2.0?

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture is moving ahead with plans for a second beef checkoff, and a notice in the Federal Register is expected by early November, according to news reports. But stakeholders in the cattle industry plan to protest the plan.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack believes creating a new, separate and supplemental beef checkoff program will bring more resources into the beef industry. The new checkoff would come begin operating over the next year and would be implemented as soon as January of 2016.

But cattle associations have vowed to oppose a new checkoff. Recently, 43 state cattlemen's associations sent a letter the Vilsack urging him to stop any efforts to establish a second checkoff.

“The Beef Checkoff has served our industry well, it is supported by 4 out of 5 producers, and it returns $11.20 for every dollar producers invest, Frank Daley, president of the Colorado Cattlemen's Association, said in a statement. We will not stand idly by and allow this administration to jeopardize our industry’s research and promotion efforts for political gain.”

A new beef order would come under the 1996 Generic Commodity Promotion Act – which is a much different act than the current beef checkoff program is under, with its own statute: The 1985 Beef Promotion Act. Opponents of a second checkoff argue that creating a new program under the 1996 Act would give much more power and control to the federal government at the expense of cattle producers.

“Even if the Secretary’s proposal yields more Checkoff revenue, producers control being replaced more government is not something this industry is willing to accept,” Daley said.
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