Jo Ann Smith is perhaps best known as the visionary founding chair of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, spearheading the development of the highly successful Beef Checkoff. Widely regarded as one of the most effective leaders in the organization’s history, Mrs. Smith shared a few words at the Cattlemen’s Beef Board meeting in San Antonio in February.
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.