It’s Time to Drive
Learning to drive – often at a very young age – is less about desire and more about necessity when you grow up in the country. This is as true today as it was several decades ago; some learn on tractors, pickups, grain trucks or ATVs. In my memory, I can assure you that my dad pulled together every last thread of his patience as he taught me how to drive the family station wagon, and I knew I had better sit up straight, pay attention and realize the responsibility I now held in my hands. It’s a rite of passage and a big part of our ranching way of life.
As the name of this new newsletter implies, it’s time we learned to “drive.” We are putting the beef checkoff in your hands, and we’re filling up your tank by educating you about how and why checkoff dollars are spent to increase beef demand. We’re calling this The Drive – a new way to tell you about the checkoff’s efforts, including great local and national projects, as well as the results and updates that are so important to all of us.
It’s clear in recent conversations with cattle farmers and ranchers all over the country that the beef checkoff has some educating to do. Perhaps, we’ve been so focused on building new “highways” to reach consumers that we only offered minimum maintenance on our “rural roads.” Many of you don’t have a good idea of what checkoff dollars provide, what projects and research the checkoff supports, or even why the checkoff exists.
There are also those who might seek to veer us off the road. You may have heard some of the many misconceptions about our checkoff, and frankly, the entire beef industry. As the beef checkoff, we continue to face challenges from various action groups.
As a lifelong cattle family, we strongly support the checkoff’s intentions, programs and results. The cattle community – the people, the land, the cattle and the beef we produce – is very important to us. The checkoff is the voice our farms and ranches need to defend, protect and promote, and I am proud to serve as a voice for our livelihood.
Here – take the keys. Hop in. Let’s go for a drive, and see where this road can take us.
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 may 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.