Colo. – There has been much discussion within the beef industry about potential improvements to the Beef Checkoff Program. USDA officials recently spoke with Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) officers about their responsibility to develop and recommend changes to the Beef Promotion and Research Act and Order to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Dave Bateman, fourth-generation farmer-feeder from Oregon, Ill., and chairman of the CBB, says this requested evaluation of the checkoff is a function of being a Beef Board officer – a continual process in meeting the needs of today's producers.
“As the program administrator, the Beef Board is authorized by USDA to provide information to the Secretary that could be used to improve the program after 20 years of operation. So, the Board is asking industry organizations for their suggestions before it completes its report,” says Bateman. “The ultimate goal is to meet the needs of the marketplace through the Beef Checkoff Program and meet our obligations to producers in terms of giving them the most bang for their dollar invested.”
Over the coming months, the Beef Board will request suggested improvements from more than 100 national industry organizations, state beef councils, certified nominating organizations and national breed associations. Bateman says it's a big information gathering process, “but many players have a stake in the beef industry and we want to hear from them.”
The information gathered will come back to the Beef Board for analysis by the officers before turning it over to CBB's Administrative Subcommittee. The Administrative Subcommittee will take the information, make recommendations to bring to the Beef Board Executive Committee, which will report to the Secretary. The recommendation process is to be completed by Nov. 30, 2008.
Bateman notes that should producers make any significant changes to the Act and the Order, such as agreeing to an increase after more than two decades, producers would have to vote on this change. If an increase were to be approved, producers on the Beef Board and state beef councils would carefully analyze where it would have the biggest impact and produce the most benefit to the industry.
For more information about checkoff-funded efforts, visit www.beefboard.org.