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Frequently Asked Questions

Dairy cattle operations contribute significantly to the beef industry, making up 21 percent of the total U.S. beef supply in 20181 and representing approximately 25 percent of Beef Checkoff assessments. To underscore the important relationship between the checkoff and the dairy sector, Beef Checkoff representatives traveled to the dairy industry’s joint annual meeting—organized by the National Milk Producers Federation with the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board and the United Dairy Industry Association—in New Orleans, November 4-6, to engage with dairy producers, educate them on how Beef Checkoff dollars are spent and gain their thoughts on checkoff programs and activities.

As dairy producers also pay into the Beef Checkoff for their beef cattle, it is important for the checkoff to be a part of these industry events. Of the 800-plus producers and industry professionals in attendance, more than half visited the Beef Checkoff booth where they were able to hear checkoff updates, ask questions and subscribe to The Drive.

Every fall, dairy producers, member cooperatives, Young Cooperators (YCs), industry representatives, staff and others from all over the country arrive for three days of speeches, reports, banquets, general sessions, town hall meetings and award ceremonies. Taking place in a different U.S. city each year, the annual meeting represents an opportunity for the dairy industry stakeholders to get together and share their common accomplishments and challenges, as well as discuss the best route for the industry’s future.

Throughout the course of the event, producers noted feeling pressure as milk demand declines, but with that, they are thankful the Beef Checkoff is supporting them through different revenue streams. Many said they are cross-breeding their heifers with other strong beef breeds to earn better premiums when the cattle eventually go to beef processing.

“It is great to see the Beef Checkoff engaging with dairy producers,” said Melvin Mederios, California dairy farmer and Cattlemen’s Beef Board Member. “As a whole, I think most producers are really pleased with the results coming out of checkoff-funded programs. The goal is to drive beef demand, and we are seeing dairy producers adjust their operations to capitalize on that demand.”

Attending events such as this to gain producer insights and feedback is a top priority for the Beef Checkoff. In order for the checkoff to remain effective, it is imperative producers understand the checkoff programs that are in place and how they are helping drive demand for beef. Producer thoughts and feedback directly impact future checkoff programs and initiatives, and these events create a great opportunity to foster relationships and encourage dialogue between the national program and the everyday beef farmer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Survey says! The majority of beef producers are in favor of the Beef Checkoff program and have consistently supported it over time. In fact, according to a recent independent study, 80 percent say the checkoff drives demand for beef.

For more than 25 years, the checkoff has commissioned a third-party research firm to conduct an annual survey of beef and dairy producers nationwide to determine their awareness of the Beef Checkoff, as well as their sentiment and concerns about the program.

This year’s key survey findings include:

  • 80 percent say the Beef Checkoff drives demand for beef
  • 72 percent say they approve of the Beef Checkoff
  • 68 percent say the Beef Checkoff leads to greater profitability in their own operation

In January 2019, Luce Research conducted the survey by calling the cell phone and landline numbers of 1,200 beef and dairy producers nationwide. These producers were randomly chosen from a master list of 150,000 U.S. producers. Using 2012 Agriculture Census statistics, the research firm weighted the survey data by age, geography and type of operation to be proportionate to the number of beef and dairy farms in that region – resulting in the adjusted sample size of 1,200 producers.

To participate, responding producers had to indicate they managed an operation that included cattle. For a sample of 1,200, the maximum statistical margin of error (95 percent confidence level) is ± 2.8 percent around any one reported result. For those producers who said they were aware of the checkoff, the maximum margin of error is ± 2.9 percent.

According to the survey results, producers conclude that the checkoff is making a difference in the beef industry, and they understand its positive, global impact. Investing in areas such as research, promotion and producer communications are ways the checkoff keeps the industry growing and beef on dinner tables around the world.

“We’re pleased to learn that producers continue to see the value of the checkoff and support its efforts,” said Brian Malaer, co-chair of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board Investor Relations Working Group. “With 80 percent of producers saying the checkoff help drives demand for beef, it’s clear that they see the return on their investment and feel the checkoff is a necessary part of the beef industry. As 2019 continues, we will keep communicating the checkoff’s many successes so even more producers can better understand how their dollars are advancing the demand for beef.”

The funding for the Producer Attitude Survey initiative sits under the Producer Communications Authorization Request and is overseen by the Investor Relations Working Group and commissioned by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. The dollars come solely from the Beef Checkoff without input from contractors to ensure unbiased results. The checkoff will take the information gathered from this year’s survey and use it to develop authorization requests for the coming year.

“To ensure the Beef Checkoff‘s continued success, we must communicate the value it brings to the beef industry and the every-day beef producer,” Malaer said. “Their dollars support the industry. Their dollars make a difference. Their dollars are driving demand.”

More About Luce Research:

Luce Research is a multi-dimensional consumer and market research firm whose data-gathering technologies help organizations better understand their constituencies. Their expertise includes scientifically-driven consumer and market research, institutional insights, campaigns, large and small population polling, and custom-developed surveys.

Dan Hoffman, adjunct professor of market research at University of Denver, and contractor to Luce Research, explained why the annual survey is conducted via phone versus online polling.

“Online polling suffers from very low participation and can result in a skewed picture of the audience being surveyed,” said Hoffman. “These polls often garner emotional responses, not factual conversations. When looking at where and how the checkoff is viewed by producers, it is vitally important to use the most statistically weighted process to truly gauge these opinions.”

For more information about the Beef Checkoff and its programs, including promotion, research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and safety, visit Beef Checkoff Program Areas.

purple sky

Frequently Asked Questions

When asked about checkoff activities, two out of three producers said “informing producers about the results of beef checkoff programs” was essential. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board invests a small percentage (about 3.5 percent) of its total budget to keep all producers informed about what their money is accomplishing. This year, funding will be spent on an initiative called The Drive.

If you are on this website, you are already experiencing The Drive. It is a movement to build a strong, trusting partnership with producers through listening, transparency and clear, direct communication.

That is why The Drive will make every effort to better understand what producers want to know about the Beef Checkoff program. Through conversations with producers like yourself, we will gauge your checkoff awareness and perceptions, as well as gain valuable insights about your educational interests and needs.

That’s right – it is all about YOU. We will conduct roundtable discussions with key opinion leaders and have one-on-one conversations with beef producers (YOU!). Then, we will share those topics of interest with your fellow beef producers across the country.

We all know that our industry continues to face challenges from various action groups. The Drive will help address misconceptions and challenges by establishing an industry voice to educate producers, the media and other influencers about the facts.

The bottom line? Let’s start having an open and honest conversation that will benefit the entire beef industry.

To be a part of our conversation, please email

cows with tractor and hay

Frequently Asked Questions

An independent survey of beef producers found 74 percent continue to approve of the Beef Checkoff program; this finding is 5 percent higher than the survey a year ago. Importantly, the more producers know about the program, the more supportive they are. The survey also found that producers are generally more optimistic about the cattle industry than they were a year ago. The random survey of 804 beef and dairy producers nationwide was conducted by the independent firm Aspen Media & Market Research from mid-December 2017 until mid-January 2018. The survey found that in addition to stronger support of the checkoff compared to a year ago, a substantial majority of beef and dairy producers continue to say their beef checkoff is a good value:

  • 76% say the beef checkoff has contributed to a positive trend in beef demand
  • 78% say the checkoff has value even when the economy is weak, 5% higher than last year
  • 65% say the checkoff contributes to profitability of their operations
  • 71% say the checkoff represents their interests, 4% higher than last year
  • 61% believe the checkoff is well-managed

In addition, while fewer producers (43 percent) said they remembered having seen, read or heard anything about the checkoff in the past six months, 86 percent reported the information they remembered was positive, 8 percent higher than a year ago.

“We are encouraged that three out of four producers continue to support the checkoff,” said Jo Stanko, Investor Relations Working Group co-chair. “On the other hand, it is concerning that fewer producers consider themselves ‘informed’ about the checkoff, and only 43 percent say they have seen, read or heard checkoff news in the past six months. Since most producers believe it’s important for the program to communicate to them checkoff results, it’s clear we will need to step up these communications efforts in the months ahead.”

The survey informs checkoff leaders of strengths and weaknesses in producer communications efforts and is used directly in developing an authorization request for the next year. See this year’s survey results [link to PDF] as well as results from previous surveys [link to resources page].

Frequently Asked Questions

The Beef Industry Long Range Plan (LRP) is developed every three to five years and lays out aggressive goals to strengthen the beef industry. As part of this initiative, the Beef Checkoff interviewed cattlemen and women across the country to hear the checkoff is helping them for long-term success on their operations.

Generation to Generation at A-Bar Ranch, Oklahoma

The future of agriculture is dependent upon our youth that are coming along.

Mike Armitage

The Armitage family at the A-Bar Ranch in Oklahoma says transitioning a beef operation from generation to generation can be difficult, but the Beef Checkoff is helping families ease that burden.

The average age of farmers and ranchers continues to increase. It is important there are resources in place that to promote the success of the beef industry to encourage young people to return to the ranch.

“As someone who has gone through a generational passing, I know how important it is that we take our money and we invest it in the right places,” says Sarah Armitage. “That one dollar give us so much for our return on our investment. I am excited about what the Beef Checkoff has to offer in terms of promotion and marketing–what it will return to us in the future.”

How does the Beef Checkoff Help?

Beef Checkoff plays an important role growing and maintaining beef demand, thus opening new opportunities for cattle producers to sustain their businesses for generations to come. That includes keeping close tabs on what consumers want in terms of end products, as well as sharing information regarding safe and sustainable beef production carried out by cattle producers — ensuring that’s what they find at the meat case when they go to purchase food for their families.

It’s no small task, but checkoff investments are part of the reason that beef demand has remained strong throughout the extremely tight supplies of recent years. In fact, a study by Dr. Harry Kaiser at Cornell University demonstrates that every checkoff dollar invested has a return on investment of $11.20. That means that every dollar invested by cattle producers returns $11.20 more to an operation than would have received without the checkoff in place.