8 Facts About the Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff is a complicated program with multiple efforts, committees and contractors spread across numerous focus areas, including promotion, research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and producer communications. With 12 contractors and subcontractors, six program committees, 101 Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) producer leaders and countless new and ongoing Checkoff-funded programs, the Beef Checkoff’s roles and responsibilities can be difficult for a producer to keep up with and fully understand.
The Beef Checkoff believes in honesty and transparency in all communications. Below are clear answers to some of producers’ top questions about the Checkoff.
Does the CBB take a stance on governmental or regulatory policy issues?
No. According to the Beef Promotion and Research Act, Beef Checkoff and the Beef Promotion and Research Order, the Checkoff is a national, producer-funded program, and as such, its funds cannot be used to influence or lobby for government policy or action. There are Beef Checkoff contractors that have legislative branches or policy-focused areas within their overall organizations. However, Checkoff dollars cannot and are not shared with that sector of those organizations. By law, Checkoff dollars are only utilized for promotion, advertising, research foreign marketing and education.
Who oversees the Beef Checkoff program?
The Cattlemen’s Beef Board facilitates the Beef Checkoff program. There are 101 CBB members who are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture and represent nearly every state across the country. These dedicated cattlemen and cattlewomen take time away from their own cattle operations to voluntarily serve on the board and make informed decisions on behalf of the Beef Checkoff and producers who fund it. There are no packer representatives on the CBB. Meet the CBB members in your state and learn about their industry involvement here: BeefBoard.org/Beef-Board/About-Beef-Board/Members
What is the Beef Checkoff doing to dispel notions that beef is bad for the environment?
The Beef Checkoff invests producer dollars into the Beef Sustainability Research Program to learn, understand and strategically communicate beef’s place in a sustainable food system. The Beef Sustainability Research program provides consumers worldwide with proof of beef producers’ commitment to responsibly raised beef. This research provides a basis for most Checkoff-funded advertising campaigns and other initiatives. The Checkoff communicates beef’s sustainability message to many audiences, including consumers, nutritionists, registered dietitians, the scientific community, influencers, chefs and international audiences through a fully integrated marketing approach.
Does the CBB have annually audited financials? Can I see them?
Yes. Every fall, an independent, outside auditing firm thoroughly reviews all CBB and Beef Checkoff financials. The contract for this firm is renewed each year, voted on by producers on the Budget and Audit committee. The CBB’s audited financials are public and can be found here: BeefBoard.org/Beef-Checkoff-Funds
What’s the deal with NCBA? Do they run the Beef Checkoff?
No. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is solely a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. Contractors to the Beef Checkoff are reimbursed for their work on a cost-recovery basis after the CBB reviews their expenses through its internal financial controls. By law, Beef Checkoff funds cannot be used to influence government policy or action. Therefore, Beef Checkoff dollars cannot and are not used in NCBA’s Policy Division for lobbying or any political issue or policy interest. NCBA’s Checkoff Division carries out beef promotion through management of the Beef Checkoff brand Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner., research, issues management, producer education and information like the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program.
Why are importers involved in the Beef Checkoff?
By law, beef importers also pay into the Beef Checkoff – approximately $7 million annually. Therefore, the Secretary of Agriculture appoints a proportionate number of importers to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.
Can I see how Beef Checkoff dollars are spent on programs?
Yes. Everything from CBB’s annual audited financials, contractors’ yearly authorization requests and monthly Checkoff program updates are available on DrivingDemandForBeef.com. CBB meetings are also open to every producer who pays into the Beef Checkoff. While some meetings involve the entire 101-member board, other meetings consist of smaller committees and groups, and every beef producer is welcome to participate in the proceedings. Also, producers can sign up for The Drive print or e-newsletter to see monthly updates on different Checkoff programs and projects currently funded by producer dollars.
Can the Beef Checkoff do anything for low cattle prices?
The Beef Checkoff implements beef promotion, advertising, research, foreign marketing and education to drive demand for beef because demand is the foundation of a healthy beef industry. However, the Beef Checkoff cannot control or affect short-term prices or ensure individual operation profitability. It cannot single handedly turn around a down market. Instead, the Checkoff promotes beef on national and international levels and finds new market opportunities to grow demand for beef. Through consumer advertising, marketing partnerships, public relations, education, research and new product development, the Checkoff is designed to stimulate others to sell more beef and encourage consumers to buy more beef.
Can’t find an answer to your question? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at BeefBoard.org/Checkoff/Frequently-Asked-Questions to learn more or contact CBB staff directly at BeefBoard.org/Contact
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.