About Cattlemen's Beef Board

The Cattlemen's Beef Promotion And Research Board, usually referred to as the Cattlemen's Beef Board or CBB, consists of 100 members, including domestic beef, dairy and veal producers, as well as importers of beef and beef products.

Beef checkoff flowchart - from investments to resultsEach Beef Board member is appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture from nominations submitted by certified nominating organizations. The nominating organizations represent beef and dairy producers in each state or region. Thirty-seven states have individual members serving on the Board. The remainder of states are divided into three regions. Importer appointments are drawn from nominations by importer associations.

The number of Board members is established according to the number of cattle in the state or region; 500,000 head for the first Board member and 1,000,000 head for each additional member. Importer numbers are established in the same manner.

The Beef Board has as part of its responsibility, the certification of Qualified State Beef Councils (QSBCs, of which there currently are 43) and the implementation of the provisions of the Federal Order (7 CFR Part 1260, July 18, 1986).

The Beef Board oversees collection of $1-per-head on all cattle sold in the U.S. and $1-per-head equivalent on imported cattle, beef and beef products. The QSBC may retain up to 50 cents of the money collected in their state, but at least 50 cents must be sent to the Beef Board. The entire $1.00 is remitted to the Beef Board from assessments in Non-QSBC states and from importers.

The Beef Board is responsible for approving the annual budget for its national checkoff-funded programs. The Beef Promotion Operating Committee consists of 20 members, and is responsible for approving projects and funding to carry out programs. Ten members of the Operating Committee are elected by the Beef Board, and ten represent the Qualified State Beef Councils.

By law, the Operating Committee and the Beef Board contract with established national, nonprofit, industry-governed organizations to implement programs of promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications. Contractors are reimbursed only for the work they actually do for the Beef Board and are not allowed to make a profit from a checkoff contract.

The Beef Board has an Executive Committee consisting of 12 members. This committee conducts the month-to-month activities between meetings of the full Board and oversees the administration of the Beef Promotion and Research Act under the direction and within the guidelines established by Board members.

The Board has established an office staff of nine employees to conduct the day-to-day operations of the Board. This office also provides staff support for the Beef Promotion Operating Committee.

What is the Beef Checkoff?

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. The checkoff assessment became mandatory when the program was approved by 79 percent of producers in a 1988 national referendum vote.

The checkoff is collected by qualified state beef councils, which retain up to 50 cents on the dollar. The state councils forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which oversees the national checkoff program, subject to USDA review. The 100 members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board represent all segments of the beef industry, including beef, veal and dairy producers, as well as cattle and beef importers, and are nominated by industry organizations and importers and appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

The structure of the Beef Checkoff Program is based on the following directives:

  • All producers and importers pay the same $1 per head.
  • Producers in the state control one half of the money collected by state beef councils.
  • All national checkoff-funded programs are budgeted and evaluated by the Beef Board.
  • Beef Board members are nominated by fellow beef producers.

What can the Beef Checkoff do?

The Beef Checkoff acts as a catalyst for change. The checkoff doesn’t own cattle, packing plants or retail outlets. It can’t single-handedly turn around a bad market. The checkoff program was designed to stimulate others to sell more beef and stimulate consumers to buy more beef. This can be accomplished through initiatives such as consumer advertising, marketing partnerships, public relations, education, research and new-product development.

What can’t the Beef Checkoff do?

By law, checkoff funds cannot be used to promote particular breeds or brands without prior approval from the Beef Board Executive Committee and USDA, nor can they be used to influence government policy or action, including lobbying.