Thursday, December 8, 2011

Beef Checkoff

I recently decided to take a volunteer position to represent District 7 on the Ohio Cattlemen’s Board of Directors. On Tuesday we had our first meeting and I feel like I am going back to school and well maybe I should.  I realized while sitting in the meeting that I didn’t know all I need to, about the beef checkoff.  I don’t think the brief lesson I taught in Agriculture Education class.  The story I use to sell was this:
Every beef producer contributes $1.00 for every calf sold and we use that to promote beef.  The example I always used was that they used some of those dollars to purchase carcasses and give them to butchers to find new cuts.  That is how they found the new “flat iron steak” in the chuck.  Although this information is true, there is actually a little more to it.  So for all the students I did not tell the whole story to – here it is.  I hope that the lack of information about the beef check off has not severely altered your lives.

This is the link to the facts:

Things that may surprise you:

1.        With the passage of the Farm Bill in 1985 by 79%, it made the beef checkoff mandatory in 1988 (this was my second year in 4-H and must have been the first check off dollar I ever paid).
2.       All producers and importers will pay $1 per head when a beef, dairy or veal animal is sold.
(sad day for the dairy producers who sell a jersey bull at the stockyards and leave with a bill)
3.       All money collected is spent by the vote of a Cattlemen’s Board.
4.       Producers are members of a board either nationally or state wide and are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture.
5.       The Beef Checkoff is spent on six main areas:
-          Promotion
-          Research
-          Consumer Information
-          Industry Information
-          Foreign Marketing
-          Producer Communication

These are the questions that arise from the above information.
1.       Are we doing enough to promote our product and get our market share from the other more inexpensive protein options in the meat case in this time of economic distress for our consumers?
2.       Could we do more?
3.       Is $1.00 enough to take care of our never ending promotion, research, communication and marketing? (I will have to say this has to be the only thing that hasn’t risen in price for the last twenty three years.)

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