Star City Cattleman Trying to Make a Difference on Beef Board
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Weldon Wynn shares passion, respect for Beef Checkoff Program
During his first three months as secretary/treasurer of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, Arkansas cattleman Weldon Wynn has already experienced a full spectrum of emotions – from appreciation and awe over accomplishments of beef checkoff-funded programs to surprise and frustration over misinformation that circulates about the checkoff and the beef industry.
But always rising to the top for Wynn is the overarching pride and passion he has for the beef industry and the Beef Checkoff Program – and the respect he has for the producers who volunteer to serve on the board that protects and administers checkoff investments.
“I want my fellow producers to know the people responsible for making decisions about their checkoff dollars at both the state and national levels are producer volunteers,” Wynn said. “I also want them to know that the process for representation is designed to make sure that producers are responsible for reviewing and approving how, when and where checkoff dollars are invested in how to build beef demand.”
Wynn owns Wynn Beefmaster Farms and Wynn Rice and Soybean Farm. In addition, he and his wife own and operate Wynn Insurance Agency. He is an active member of his community and industry, including service on the board of directors of the Pine Bluff National Bank of Star City; former emcee and judge of the National Beef Cook-Off; National Beef Ambassador judge; past president and active member of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association; member of the University of Arkansas Animal Science 2000 Advisory Council; past president of the Arkansas Fair Managers Association; and current president of the Lincoln County Fair, among many others.
During their meeting in Denver in February, Beef Board members from across the country elected Wynn to serve as secretary/treasurer of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board in 2011, alongside Chairman Tom Jones of Pottsville, Ark. and Vice Chairman Wesley Grau of Grady, N.M. These officers, and 103 other beef producers and importers, have been appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to serve on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which oversees administration of the national Beef Checkoff Program.
“I can say that I am humbled and honored to be elected to the checkoff leadership,” Wynn said. “The cattle industry, through my life, has really been good to me and my family for so many years. And now it’s my time to give back… I believe in our future, and I hope to be a catalyst to help us continue to move forward in this great industry that we’re in.”
Members of the Beef Board operate under a mission to build demand for beef through promotion, research and information programs of the national Beef Checkoff Program. Members’ volunteer checkoff role includes work on checkoff committees to prioritize strategies aimed at leveraging beef producers’ checkoff dollars on the research, educational and promotional efforts that they believe offer the biggest return on producers’ investment and to make annual recommendations for checkoff funding of specific programs.
As an officer, Wynn also serves on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, which makes final recommendations about which programs to fund with checkoff dollars, and on the Beef Board Executive Committee, which acts on behalf of the full Board between its meetings.
When all is said and done, Wynn said, he believes that the checkoff helps each individual producer and importer who pays into it by maintaining a positive image for beef and the beef industry and keeping up with consumer demands for safe, wholesome beef for their tables.
“The checkoff does so much for all of us, and this is where we miss it as producers,” he said. “But No. 1, there’s no way that, in my operation, I could afford to advertise my product like the checkoff dollars do for me: The checkoff is constantly promoting and working to continue to grow beef demand. Every day, it is funding more research to address safety and quality issues, and on my operation, our management practices are better because of checkoff dollars…
“And you know,” Wynn summed up, “independent research has shown us for every dollar we spend, that we invest in the checkoff program, we get a $5 return on our investment. That’s a return that every investor in the checkoff program should accept with pride!”
For more information about the Beef Checkoff Program, visit www.MyBeefCheckoff.com.
The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.