Your Beef Checkoff Investment: There It Is
I’ve heard some producers say that they don’t know how their Checkoff dollars are spent. In fact, I heard one say that once they pay their money, “POOF, it just disappears.” Really? Well, they must not have looked very far or very hard.
The one-stop shop for everything Beef Checkoff is the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) website, DrivingDemandforBeef.com. Everything a producer needs to know about where their Checkoff dollars are invested is right there. This includes program proposals with budget summaries, program updates, board and committee information, and more. Producers can get even more program information by subscribing to The Drive, a complimentary quarterly publication.
Of course, the best way to get informed is to participate. There’s no substitute for getting involved and attending local and national meetings. In fact, this is the busiest time of year for planning/funding activities and meetings, and these will be on full display at the annual Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, TN, August 10-12. In addition to celebrating the Beef Checkoff’s 35th Anniversary, this gathering will focus on the proposed programs being considered for Checkoff funding for the upcoming fiscal year.
Here’s how the process works:
During the past months, a diverse group of contractors has been developing a wide range of project funding requests known as Authorization Requests (ARs). These ARs are based on strategies outlined in the current Beef Industry Long Range Plan.
The AR’s first stop is the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB), where a preliminary version of the proposal is reviewed and vetted. Next, the AR is forwarded to the appropriate Beef Checkoff Program Committee(s) for assessment at the Summer Business Meeting during the Cattle Industry Convention. There, the contractors present their proposals to the producer-led committee(s) and answers questions. Committee members score the AR and provide feedback, which the contractors use to revise and finalize their ARs before presenting to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC) in September.
Responsible for approving and funding Checkoff work each year, the 20-member, all-volunteer BPOC is one of the most important groups in the beef industry. Its producer and importer representation is evenly divided between state and national members: 10 from the CBB and 10 from the Federation of State Beef Councils. This group will meet September 9-10 in Denver to hear detailed presentations from all potential contractors and make final funding decisions.
It’s important to note that all of these meetings are open to all Checkoff-paying producers and importers, and provide great insight into how the whole Beef Checkoff program works and what your Checkoff dollars will be doing! It’s also important to know that producer and importer volunteers from around the country are calling the shots every step of the way — and laying it all out there plainly and publicly for fellow producers to see. The Beef Checkoff program has been and continues to be fully accountable, fully transparent, and fully available for producers to check out any time they want. So, POOF, there it is!
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.