WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture is moving ahead with plans for a new beef promotion order. The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking public input to guide the development of a supplemental beef checkoff. The deadline for comments is Dec. 10, 2014.

AMS said the new program would be in addition to the existing beef checkoff. The goal of a new program is to increase funding for marketing and research efforts.

"Beef-industry representatives agree that this important program needs more resources. USDA is stepping up at a critical juncture to help achieve the industry's goal," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "With this action we can boost research investments, increase beef exports, and encourage folks here at home to support American beef producers."

AMS noted that the $1 per-head of cattle per producer has remained unchanged since 1985, and only Congress can change the amount. Vilsack has said that a supplemental program will generate additional resources to help the beef industry address important issues such as improving and enhancing nutritional information through advertising, education, and research and product innovation.

Industry stakeholders have opposed the plan, arguing that the current program has served the beef industry well, and the supplemental checkoff plan would give more power and control to the federal government at the expense of the beef industry.