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The beef industry has undergone significant change in the last few years. On the production side, severe drought has caused structural changes in the industry. Herd size has dramatically diminished, input costs are high, and some cattlemen are exiting the business instead of taking on herd rebuilding. Looking ahead, there are further significant changes in the marketing landscape that the industry must successfully adapt to in order to keep beef as the premier center of the plate protein.
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.