The Grassroots of the Beef Checkoff Program Committees
One of the essential components of the Beef Checkoff is the use of program committees, which consist of beef producers and importers who volunteer their time to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Federation of State Beef Councils, helping guide Beef Checkoff initiatives. These members, who come from every sector of the beef industry – cow/calf, feeder, stocker, veal, dairy and imports – are responsible for identifying priorities, making recommendations and ultimately overseeing the investment of Beef Checkoff funds.
These committees are guided by the Beef Industry Long Range Plan. Updated every five years, this plan helps the beef industry establish a common set of objectives and priorities. It communicates the industry’s strategic direction and provides insight into how the industry can serve its stakeholders by growing beef demand. Explore the 2021-2025 Beef Industry Long Range Plan at www.beeflongrangeplan.com
Members of Beef Checkoff program committees are split evenly, with approximately 20 members from the CBB and 20 members representing the Federation of State Beef Councils. This split reflects both national and state priorities and helps the Beef Checkoff spend dollars more effectively and efficiently. In addition, state beef council executives sit on these committees in an ex-officio role.
Currently, the six program committees – Consumer Trust, Domestic Marketing, International Marketing, Nutrition & Health, Safety & Product Innovation and Stakeholder Engagement – review Beef Checkoff work performed by Checkoff contractors and provide recommendations to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, which ultimately makes program and contractor funding decisions. Approved contractors then develop plans and programs in the areas of promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications. Also, the Checkoff has two additional joint committees with members of the CBB and Federation: the Beef Promotion Operating Committee and the Checkoff Evaluation Committee.
The Beef Promotion Operating Committee has 20 members, 10 of whom are elected to serve by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, while the states select the other 10 through the Federation of State Beef Councils. A program is only approved for funding if two-thirds of the members of the committee vote to accept it. This means a program must have recognized value to earn the consensus needed for funding.
There are two administrative committees under the CBB: Executive Committee and the Budget & Audit Committee. Committees under the CBB administer matters related to administration of the Beef Checkoff, in compliance with the the Beef Promotion Research Act and Order.
Committee members make significant decisions for the Beef Checkoff and the industry; that’s why the CBB encourages producers across the U.S. to get involved in the process. All Checkoff meetings are open for producers and importers to attend. To become a member of the board, a producer may be nominated by a certified nominating organization, then appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. The Beef Checkoff is a program built by producers for producers and is strengthened by those who lend their voices, thoughts and ideas.
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.